Re­veal­ing story of a mass grave in Mo­sul

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Three men set up a fence and a rib­bon of yel­low and black crime scene tape around a site south of Iraq’s Mo­sul, mark­ing a mass grave of ji­hadists’ vic­tims. It is one of dozens of such sites dis­cov­ered in ar­eas around Iraq that have been re­cap­tured from the Is­lamic State group, whose rule has been de­fined by ex­treme bru­tal­ity. Now in­ves­ti­ga­tors face the enor­mous task of piec­ing to­gether de­tails of what hap­pened to IS’s many vic­tims, and de­ter­min­ing who they were.

“It re­ally is a crime scene,” Fawaz Ab­du­la­b­bas, deputy head of the In­ter­na­tional Com­mit­tee on Miss­ing Per­sons in Iraq, said of the site near Hamam al-Alil dis­cov­ered af­ter Iraqi forces re­cap­tured the town last month. “Be­tween 80 and 100 bod­ies are here, in­clud­ing those of women and chil­dren,” Ab­du­la­b­bas said.

Among the bod­ies may be that of Imed Dhaer, a po­lice­man who was kid­napped by IS, leav­ing 10 chil­dren with­out their fa­ther and two wives with­out their hus­band, his brother Fuad said. When Iraqi forces launched an of­fen­sive in mid-Oc­to­ber to re­cap­ture Mo­sul, the last IS-held city in the coun­try, the ji­hadists “came to search for all mem­bers of the se­cu­rity forces”, in­clud­ing 33-year-old Imed, his brother said. The IS mil­i­tants “were lo­cals; they knew the houses and pro­fes­sions of all those they took”, Fuad said.

Three days of ex­e­cu­tions

Since then, he has had no news of his brother, but res­i­dents of Hamam Al-Alil said they heard shoot­ing at the grave site, a for­mer Iraqi fir­ing range near the town. “For three days, from 7:00 to 11:00 pm, they ex­e­cuted” the peo­ple they had seized and then “dumped the bod­ies be­fore par­tially cov­er­ing them with dirt mixed with garbage” in what they termed “buri­als of dis­honor”, said Dargham Kamil, an of­fi­cial from the Mar­tyrs’ Foun­da­tion. The or­ga­ni­za­tion, which is un­der the author­ity of the Iraqi pre­mier’s of­fice, has been work­ing for over a month to trace how the killings un­folded, and has al­ready col­lected many ac­counts from lo­cal res­i­dents. Fuad can imag­ine what hap­pened and now wants only one thing: to see the body of his brother, to know for sure. “Only that can soothe our hearts,” Fuad said.— AFP

MO­SUL: This file photo taken on Novem­ber 7, 2016 shows mem­bers of the Iraqi forces check­ing a body they pulled from a mass grave they dis­cov­ered in the Hamam Al-Alil area af­ter they re­cap­tured the area from Is­lamic State (IS) group ji­hadists dur­ing the on­go­ing op­er­a­tion to re­take Mo­sul, the last IS-held Iraqi city. — AFP

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