Mosul, March 12: Iraqi forces on Saturday found a mass grave containing the remains of hundreds of people murdered by the terrorist organization Islamic State at Badoush prison near Mosul, Iraq. Notably, Iraqi paramilitary forces revealed a shocking fact that they found a mass grave containing the remains of about 500 people.
The paramilitary forces further said that the victims were civilian prisoners killed by Islamic State, IS terrorists. The IS is alleged to have killed up to 600 inmates, most of them Shia Muslims, when it seized Mosul in 2014. Badoush prison was recaptured earlier this week.
The Iraqi paramilitary said that forces from the Hashed al-Shaabi, an umbrella group of pro-government forces that are dominated by Iran-backed Shiite militias were among the units that recaptured the prison from the jihadists. Hashed forces found "a large mass grave containing the remains of around 500 civilian prisoners in (Badaush) prison who were executed by (IS) gangs after they controlled the prison during their occupation of Mosul," the military added.
According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), IS gunmen executed up to 600 inmates from the prison on June 10, 2014, forcing them to kneel along a nearby ravine and then shooting them with assault rifles, an account also contained in a United Nations report. Most of those executed were said to have been members of Iraq's Shiite Muslim majority, whom IS considers heretics.
However, IS abuses at the jail did not end with executing its inmates. Iraqi lawmaker Vian Dakhil said in 2014 that the jihadists were holding more than 500 Yazidi women at Badaush. IS also targeted the Yazidi religious minority in a brutal campaign of executions, kidnapping and rape, killing men and holding women and girls as sex slaves.
Importantly, the Badaush site is not the first mass grave to be found during the Mosul campaign, in which Iraqi forces recaptured areas around the country's second city before battling IS inside it. Earlier, Iraqi forces found one in the Hamam al-Alil area south of Mosul in November that an official said appeared to hold the remains of at least 25 bodies.
Interestingly, Iraqi forces retook an area containing a sinkhole known as the Khasfah, which could be the largest mass grave of the war with IS. Local residents said that IS used it as an execution site and a mass grave where they would dispose of victims.