22 bodies found in Iraq mass grave

Iraqi soldiers discovered 22 bodies in a mass grave in the Lake Tharthar area north-west of Baghdad, the US military said today.

Iraqi soldiers discovered 22 bodies in a mass grave in the Lake Tharthar area north-west of Baghdad, the US military said today.

The bodies were found on Saturday during a joint operation with US forces, the military said in a statement.

Last month, Iraqi police reported finding 25 bullet-riddled bodies, some decapitated, in a mass grave in Nadhum village, close to Lake Tharthar. At the time, police said it appeared the victims had died within the past three months.

It was not immediately clear whether Saturday’s discovery contained the same bodies found earlier by Iraqi police, or whether it was a second mass grave.

Following the discovery, US and Iraqi forces launched an operation yesterday, including ground raids and air assaults targeting al Qaida in the area, the US statement said.

About 30 suspects were detained, it said, and two car bomb facilities and a number of weapons caches were also found.

Iraqi officials are investigating the mass grave, trying to identify the bodies and notify families. The statement did not say how long the victims were believed to have been dead.

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