Tags / Salahuddine Province
March 24, 2015
WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
A mass burial site was discovered near the city of Samarra, central Iraq. According to interviewed Iraqi army officers, the dead bodies belong to civilians and soldiers who were apparently executed. The area has been recently retaken from ISIS, which has led the Iraqi military to assume that the victims were killed by the militant group.
Footage shows excavation vehicles digging up partially decomposed bodies as well as interviews with military officers explaining how the mass graves were discovered.
SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Adib al-Khazraji, Local Resident
04:01 – 04:19
“If this shows anything at all, it shows ISIS’ treachery and brutality, with which the beloved Iraqi people have become familiar. We ask God almighty to give the [victims’] families patience and help achieve the victory of virtue against these criminal assassins.”
SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Ali al-Saadi, Iraqi Army Officer
04:20 – 07:17
“Peace be upon you and God’s prayers be upon Prophet Mohamad. We are now in the district overseen by the 17th Brigade 17, 2nd Regiment, which is undertaking operations in Samarra. This area where are now standing was controlled by the zealous ISIS gangs. After we liberated and controlled this land, checkpoints were set up along a distance of four Km, from the area Imam Mohammad to Mahatat Balad crossroad. While patrols were being conducted in the district under our jurisdiction, we discovered depression in the soil after the rainfall yesterday. We dug the ground up and discovered two mass graves. The first grave contains four bodies of people wearing civilians clothing. Today, we discovered the burial site behind us. We discovered the bodies of people who had been wearing military uniforms. I believe that they have been buried for a long time – several months.
This morning we dug out the first batch of bodies, which were sent to the General Hospital of Balad. They were placed in the morgue, waiting to be identified with the help of the police directorate in Balad.
We thank the police directorate in Balad. Yesterday, we called the police commander there, Colonel Abdullah, who asked officers in Mahatat Balad police station to be present at the scene of the incident, or where these bodies are located. They [the police] received the bodies from us – we transported the bodies. We delivered the bodies to the hospital and the investigation was conducted by the police force of Mahattat Balad.
Now, we will send the bodies that are still here to the Balad hospital. We will deliver the bodies to the relevant authorities. They could be identified with the help of media outlets and delivered to their relatives. In case the bodies were not handed over to their families, they will be buried by relevant authorities. We shall continue to work as we are working now. We will keep searching for these martyrs. We are now safe in these areas thanks to their blood, which watered these lands. Here, it was difficult even for a car to pass through.”
SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Brigadier-General Maad Beday Faraj, Commander of the 17th Brigade.”
07:18 – 08:50
“In the name of God, the merciful, the compassionate. Yesterday, we were notified by the Popular Mobilization forces, which are present in the district overseen by the First Regiment, 17th Infantry Brigade, and Samarra operations headquarters. We were notified of the appearance of a mass grave following rainfall two days ago. Part of these bodies appeared.
The burial site was dug up and we were notified about this. As you can see, we are present with members of the Salahuddine provincial council. The office of the prime minister was also notified in order to bring in a specialized forensic medical team who could identify the remains of the bodies by taking samples from them to match them with DNA samples. So far, from what we have in front of us, we can tell that these people were [executed]. They had been blindfolded and their hands were tied behind their backs. They were thrown in this mass grave after they were executed.
This area is located in the south of the administrative district of Balad, specifically in the area of Tal al-Thahab.
After the bodies were inspected and the families recognized them, it was found out that one of them was a military who was in this district. Now, there a search is being conducted to find other burial sites in the same area.
Brigadier-General Maad Beday Faraj, Commander of the 17th Brigade"
March 12, 2015
Thousands of Iraqi Shiites attended the funeral of Saad Tamimi, the military commander of the Badr Organization in Tikrit who was killed in battle on Wednesday 11 March. The Badr Organization is arguably the most powerful of the Shiite militias who make up the Hashid Shaabi or "Popular Mobilization" umbrella group of militias.
Also in attendance was the Badr military leader in Karbala, Major General Hamed Saheb, also known as Abu Mustapha al-Karbalai'. General Saheb accused Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey of working to help the United States, referred to as "the devil", carry out its agenda in Iraq.
The mourners carried the coffin of Tamimi to holy Shiite shrines in Karbala while chanting Shiite slogans.
Analysts and U.S. officials have repeatedly stated their concerns about the sectarianism that is (re)emerging in Iraq. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said he is "very concerned" about reports that Iran and Shiite militias are leading the fight against Islamic State militants in Iraq and exacerbating sectarian strife in that nation.
In a speech to Congress on 3 March, Carter said: "Sectarianism is what brought us to the point where we are, and so I do look at it with concern. We are watching it very closely."
SOUNDBITE: Major General Hamed Saheb, Military Commander of Badr Organization in Karbala (Arabic, Man)
02:59 – 04:51
“I offer condolences to myself, my brothers the mujahideen, and the people of Karbala on the occasion of the martyrdom of this hero from the military wing of Badr Organization. He participated in several operations. Eight days prior to his death, he took part with me in a very difficult operation, during which he marched ahead of my mujahideen brethren, calling: “Martyrdom! Martyrdom!” The day before yesterday, he was martyred in the Salahuddin district while he tried to sweep the area after it was liberated from the criminal gangs, which had entered the land of Imam Hussein, the Commander of the Believers. I congratulate you as well as ourselves for offering an elite of [martyrs] for the sake of the Master of Martyrs [Imam] Abi Abdullah al-Hussein, in defense of the land of Iraq and the holy shrines. We say, from the city of Imam Hussein, that neither ISIS, nor the malicious House of Saud, foundling Qatar, or damned Turkey will be able to achieve this scheme in Iraq, the scheme of America, the Great Satan. This is thanks to this safety valve [POINTING TO PORTRAIT OF AYATOLLAH SISTANI] who issued such a great fatwa, and these men who obeyed the fatwa.
God willing, in the next few hours, the good news of the full liberation of Salahuddin province will be announced.
Yes, we offered martyrs and casualties but, relatively to previous operations, their numbers are small.”