Iraq exhumes remains of 47 from Tikrit graves: spokesman
BAGHDAD - Reuters
Iraqi soldiers salute as they stand next to a mass grave for Shi'ite soldiers from Camp Speicher who have been killed by Islamic State militants in the presidential compound of the former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein in Tikrit April 6, 2015. REUTERS PhotoIraq has exhumed the remains of 47 people believed to have been massacred by jihadists from mass graves in Tikrit, the human rights ministry's spokesman said April 7.
"The number of remains that were exhumed so far is 47, and they were found in 11 mass graves," Kamel Amin told AFP, adding that the number is expected to rise.
Amin said they are believed to have been victims of the infamous Speicher massacre, named for the military base near which up to 1,700 mostly Shiite recruits were abducted by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) jihadist group last year.
But DNA testing is required to confirm their identity, he said.
The killing of the recruits -- which the jihadist group documented in photos and videos posted online -- stoked widespread anger and helped rally support for the battle against ISIL.
The mass grave sites were discovered after Iraqi forces retook the city of Tikrit last week in their biggest victory so far against ISIL.
ISIL led an offensive last June that overran large areas north and west of Baghdad, but Iraqi security forces and allied paramilitaries have succeeded in regaining significant ground.