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Dozens of decapitated bodies found at school near Mosul

The Washington Post logo The Washington Post 7/11/2016 William Booth
Smoke rises during clashes between Pershmerga forces and IS militants. © Reuters Smoke rises during clashes between Pershmerga forces and IS militants.

IRBIL, Iraq — Iraqi military and police forces said Monday that they have uncovered a mass grave in a small town south of the Islamic State-held city of Mosul. Initial reports say 100 bodies were found, many of them decapitated.

Col. Abdel Rahman Khazali, a spokesman for the Iraqi federal police, said the bodies were discovered Monday at an agricultural college outside of the town of Hamam al-Alil, which was recaptured by Iraqi forces over the last three days.

Khazali said medical teams were examining the bodies and trying to determine their identities. The police spokesman said it appeared the bodies had been buried for a year or more.

“The investigation is just beginning,” he said.

The Iraqi Joint Command issued a brief statement condemning Islamic State. “Gangs of ISIS militants continue to commit crimes against our people,” the military said.

Fighters from Islamic State, also known as ISIS, have held the city of Mosul and surrounded towns and villages for more than two years. A massive offensive by combined Iraqi forces, aided by U.S. air support, began three weeks ago.

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