Iraqi officials announced on Monday they will soon begin new excavations based on reports of a new mass grave, near the holy city of Karbala, according to the Associated Press. Dr. Kamil Ameer Hashim, a spokesman for the Ministry of Human Rights, said that the suspected grave site had not yet been opened and it was unclear how many people might be inside. Officials had decided on the location based on interviews with the families of the dead, he said. Meanwhile, the remains of more than 70 people, including women, children and the elderly, have been excavated from a different mass grave in Topzawa near Kirkuk, he said. Officials began digging there two months ago but have not yet finished their work. â€œNo one knows how many victims of former dictator Saddam Husseinâ€™s regime lie in mass graves around Iraq. Hundreds of thousands of Kurds were killed or expelled from Iraq in the late 1980s and then again during the Kurdish uprising following the first Gulf War in 1991. Many political prisoners were also killed and secretly buried,â€ the agency added.
July 3, 2013