Graves of civilians executed by IS found in Iraq

Baghdad: Mass graves containing the remains of civilians executed by the Islamic State (IS) terror group have been found in the Iraqi province of Kirkuk, the media reported.

The mass graves were discovered in the al-Bakara area, about 3 km north of the city of Hawija, reports CNN.

The area was an American base prior to 2011, Kirkuk Governor Rakan Saeed said on Saturday.

“We are standing here, where … at least 400 civilians were dragged, some in their red jumpsuits, and brutally executed by the IS,” he said.

Colonel Murtada Abbas of the 60th Brigade in the Iraqi military said witnesses to the executions led them to the graves.

A witness told CNN that he saw members of IS drive vehicles loaded with civilians to the site and execute them. He said there were five mass graves in the al-Bakara area.

Governor Saeed called on the Iraqi government and the Commission of Human Rights to come to the mass grave sites and conduct DNA examinations to identify the victims.

Kirkuk is an oil-rich province in the northern part of Iraq.

IS forces drove the Iraqi military from the capital city of Kirkuk in 2014, and Kurdish forces in turn drove the IS out of the city, which the Kurds had held for more than two years.

The Iraqi government ordered Kurdish forces to hand over the city. When the Kurds refused, the Iraqi military moved in and took control of the city in mid-October.