Bomb-rigged mass Yazidi grave found in Iraq

A booby-trapped mass grave believed to hold the remains of more than 120 people killed by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant has been discovered in northern Iraq, an official said Saturday. 

It is the sixth mass burial site discovered in or near the town of Sinjar since it was recaptured from Isil jihadists earlier this month, Mahma Khalil, the official responsible for the area, told AFP

Isil captured Sinjar in August 2014 and carried out a campaign of massacres, enslavement and rape against members of the Yazidi minority, who made up most of its inhabitants. 

The United Nations has described the attack on the Yazidis, whose faith Isil considers heretical, as a possible genocide. 

The grave site, which is estimated to contain the remains of 123 people, based on accounts from people who witnessed the executions, was surrounded by a large number of bombs, said Mr Khalil. 
Bombs are a key part of both offensive and defensive operations by Isil, which overran large parts of Iraq last year. 

Explosives continue to pose a major threat even after the jihadists are gone and prevent displaced residents from returning home. 

The grave, located about six miles west of Sinjar, has not yet been excavated, but the victims were not buried deeply, and some of their remains have been exposed by rainwater, added Mr Khalil. 

Another mass grave found in the area was believed to hold the bodies of some 80 women aged from 40 to about 80, whom one official said may have been executed because they were considered too old to enslave and rape. 

The town of Sinjar was recaptured from Isil on November 13 in a major operation led by forces from Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region, backed by air support from the US-led coalition. 


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