A gruesome mass grave filled with the bodies of torture victims has been uncovered in Iraq.
Iraqi authorities said the bodies of 123 people tortured and killed by ISIS at a prison near the city of Mosul have been removed from the burial site in Badush as they make attempts to identify them.
The Badush prison massacre was one of the worst crimes carried out by the terrorist group after it seized control of a third of Iraq in 2014.
The jihadists freed Sunni Muslims inmates and forced 583 mainly prisoners into trucks, before driving them to a ravine and shooting them during their occupation of Mosul.
The mass grave, discovered after Iraqi forces took control of the area in March 2017, is one of more than 200, according to the United Nations.
The remains of up to 12,000 people are believed to be buried in the graves, according to the UN, who has accused the terror group of committing genocide in Iraq.
Najm al-Jubburi, governor of the Nineveh province where the prison is located, told AFP: “”Thousands of families are waiting to know what happened to their relatives.”
Among those waiting, is Abbas Mohammed, whose son was jailed at Badush following his arrest by US forces in 2005.
“After 17 years of not knowing whether my son is alive or dead, I need an answer,” he said.
In recent weeks, dozens of family members of the victims have given blood samples, which will be compared to the DNA of the remains.
Saleh Ahmed, a member of the government commission tasked with identifying the bodies, said “work conditions are difficult”.
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“The heat is overwhelming. Some remains are entangled, and there are snakes and scorpions everywhere,” he added.
Another was found in the Hamam al-Alil area, south of Mosul, in 2016 which appeared to hold the remains of at least 25 bodies.
And the terror group’s abuses at the jail did not end with executions as they are believed to have held over 500 women captive as sex slaves and tortured many of the victims prior to their deaths.