Mass Grave of Baath-era Victims Exhumed in Iraq's Najaf
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Mass Grave of Baath-era Victims Exhumed in Iraq's Najaf

Photo: AFP

ERBIL — Authorities in Iraq's Najaf exhumed remains of 15 victims from a mass grave believed to contain dozens more who were likely killed under the Baath regime led by Saddam Hussein, an official said on Saturday.

According to reports, the mass grave was found in April near the southern city of Najaf during construction works. It is said to date back to the 1990s when the Baath regime began a deadly campaign against members of the majority Shia Muslim community in southern Iraq that left nearly 100,000 dead.

"There could be 100 victims in this grave. It is an estimation, the number could be higher due to the size of the area," said Abdul Ilah Al-Naeli, who heads a government foundation tasked with finding mass graves and identifying the remains, as reported by AFP.

Naeli called the burial "the scene of the crime," and noted that the grave dates back to the "1991 popular (Shiite) uprising" against the Baath regime of Saddam Hussein.

The report added that skulls and other human remains were seen near the construction site "where cement buildings have been erected."

According to Iraqi authorities, during the Saddam's regime, over one million people disappeared, including from the Kurdistan Region in the 1980s and 1990s, and many of their families are still looking for the remains of their beloved ones.

Available statistics by the United Nations show that nearly 200 mass graves exist in Iraq and they could hold up to 12,000 bodies.

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