A pro-government Shia Iraqi militia said Saturday they have discovered a mass grave containing the remains of around 500 bodies at a prison located north-west of Mosul.
Iraqi military forces seized control of Badoush prison from Daesh militants earlier this week.
Daesh took control of Badoush village and the prison complex in June 2014. Human Rights Watch said the jihadist group reportedly executed 600 inmates at the prison on June 10, 2014. Survivors told the rights group at the time that most of those executed were Shias.
Daesh, which regards Shias as heretics, often targeted Shia groups and claimed attacks that took place during Shiite religious observances or crowded locations in mainly Shia districts.
The Shia militia, known as the Popular Mobilization group, is politically powerful and have provided crucial backing to security forces.
Also on Saturday, Iraqi forces captured a key rail facility in Mosul from Daesh as part of an ongoing US-backed campaign to dislodge the extremist militia from the northern city.
“The Federal Police and Rapid Response forces have liberated the area of al-Mahata [Arabic for station] that houses the Mosul train station and residential buildings,” colonel Emad al-Bayati told dpa.
He added that military experts on Friday dismantled dozens of explosives planted by militants around the facility, the main station of western Mosul.
Al-Bayati said that government forces entered the district of al-Abar in western Mosul early Saturday and were engaged in fierce fighting against Daesh insurgents there. No casualty figures were given.
“The Daesh elements have kidnapped around 30 local families, just before the forces started storming the area, in order to use them as human shields,” he added.
On February 19, Iraqi forces started a major offensive to drive Daesh from the western section of Mosul, almost a month after they drove the militants from the eastern side of the city.
Daesh seized Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, in mid-2014.
The city is seen as Daesh’s last key stronghold in Iraq.
In recent months, the radical group has suffered military setbacks and lost territory in Iraq and Syria.
By Sahar Othman, original source