ARBIL (AFP) -The remains of 23 men from Iraq’s Yazidi religious minority were found when a mass grave was excavated in northern Iraq, an official said on Saturday.
It is the latest evidence of atrocities committed in areas held by the Islamic State (IS) group to emerge since Kurdish forces pushed the jihadists back.
A team acting on a tip-off from a resident opened the grave near the village of Bardiyan on Friday, said Fuad Othman, a spokesman for the Kurdish regional government.
Othman said those killed had been shot, and some had their hands bound.
A ditch where some 25 people were murdered was found farther south in Nineveh province on February 1, and Othman said dozens more bodies were believed to be in an another grave in the Hardan area.
IS spearheaded a militant offensive that began in northern Iraq last June and overran large parts of the country, before again turning its attention to the north in August, driving Kurdish forces back and seizing more territory in Nineveh.
The militants carried out a campaign of killings, kidnappings, enslavement and rape against Yazidis living in the area that the UN termed an “attempt to commit genocide.”
Backed by US-led air strikes, Iraqi Kurdish forces have made significant gains in the region, driving IS back and retaking areas where the grave sites have been discovered.