January 15, 2015 / 7:50 AM / 5 years ago

Corpses of 16 men discovered in northern Iraq

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A search team has discovered 16 corpses in an area of northern Iraq formerly controlled by Islamic State militants, a local official said late on Wednesday.

“The joint excavation crews have discovered 16 bodies of men who were blindfolded and had their hands tied behind their backs,” said the district chief Mohammed Mulla Hassan, from the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan party.

“They were found in the Kobachi area, which is part of Saadiya District, and they were executed in the past few months,” he added.

A joint search team from the Kurdistan regional government in northern Iraq and Baghdad’s human rights ministry made the discovery.

Hassan put the blame for the killings on the Sunni jihadists of Islamic State, who controlled the area until late November when they were forced out by Shi’ite militias fighting on behalf of the Baghdad government.

Shi’ite militias have also been accused of atrocities when retaking land from Islamic State, which swept across northern Iraq last summer as the Iraqi army collapsed.

Reporting By Saif Hameed, Ned Parker; Editing by Gareth Jones

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