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Four bodies of ISIS victims found in household garden in Sinjar district

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Four bodies were found in a grave inside a residential property in Sinjar’s (Shingal) Qahtanya (Gir Uzer) sub-district, which are believed to have been victims of ISIS during the time in which it captured and controlled the city. 

After returning home from a displacement camp on Sunday, a Yezidi (Ezidi) family found the mass grave inside their garden, as they began to make repairs on their damaged house.

“We went to our home with several of my relatives to clean the house, following the ISIS war that left part of the house in ruins, with a lot of rubble, and then we found the bones and the remains of the bodies in the garden in one grave,” said Khairo Khidr, the owner of the house.

Khidr explained that once they had dug up the grave, they discovered that more than one body had been buried in it.

“According to the bones, including skulls, we discovered that there were four people buried there,” he said.

“There was no national identity card with the bodies,” he continued. “However, according to their clothes, they appear to be residents of the area, and they were shot and killed after ISIS took over the city of Shingal.”

The Khidr family believes that the bodies belong to four of their family members—three women and a man who are still missing.

The so-called Islamic State attacked Shingal on Aug. 3, 2014, and twelve days later—on Aug. 15—it conducted mass killings in the Ezidi inhabited village of Kujo. The terrorist group murdered 2,293 Ezidi civilians, according to the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Ezidi Affairs Directorate in the Ministry of Endowment and Religious Affairs.

According to data provided by the directorate, over 80 mass graves have been found in Shingal, in addition to the graves of single individuals, whose victims date from the time when ISIS controlled the city.

Khayri Ali, a representative of the Ezidi organization for documentation of evidence, explained that the grave discovered by the Khidr family “has now been fenced, and no one is allowed to tamper with it, until the special team arrives to unearth it.” He noted that, so far, only four bodies appear to be in the grave. However, we are “not completely certain” there are no more bodies there, he added.

On March 15, the federal government of Iraq, the KRG, and the United Nations Investigative Team for the Promotion of Accountability for Crimes Committed by ISIS (UNITAD) marked the start of national efforts to unearth the first mass grave of Ezidis who were killed by the Islamic State in Aug. 2014.

However, the unearthing of the graves has been paused for several months now, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent Iraqi lockdown orders that have been issued several times to curb the spread of the virus.
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