As Iraqi forces work to secure areas near the city of Ramadi, regional officials said Monday they had discovered a mass grave, NBC News reported. Iraqi forces, with aid from American airstrikes, drove the Islamic State group from the city in late December in what the American government labeled a win against the terrorist group.
Officials said the bodies of approximately 40 civilians were found in a grave and that they expected to find additional mass graves in the capital of Anbar Province. Ramadi was held by the militant organization, also known as ISIS, for eight months after it seized control of the city from Iraqi forces.
“Once our forces clear the city from [improvised explosive devices] we will certainly discover more mass graves,” said Eed Amash, spokesman of Anbar’s Governing Council, speaking with NBC.
Mass graves have been discovered in other regions of Iraq since ISIS came to power in 2014. Over 200 bodies were found west of Baghdad in October 2014. The Sunni Albu Nimr tribe opposed ISIS, and witnesses reported men between 18 and 55 being shot at close range. Approximately 150 members of the tribe were found in a mass grave near Ramadi in 2014.