Iraq begins exhuming mass Yazidi grave left by Daesh

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Iraqi Yazidi and Nobel Peace Laureate Nadia Mourad (R) speaks with an elderly Yazidi cleric during the exhumation of a mass-grave of hundreds of Yazidis killed by Daesh militants in the northern Iraqi village of Kojo in Sinjar district on March 15, 2019. (AFP)
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Iraqi Yazidi women attend the exhumation of a mass-grave of hundreds of Yazidis killed by Daesh militants in the northern Iraqi village of Kojo in Sinjar district on March 15, 2019. (AFP)
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An Iraqi Yazidi woman mourns while attending the exhumation of a mass-grave of hundreds of Yazidis killed by Daesh militants in the northern Iraqi village of Kojo in Sinjar district on March 15, 2019. (AFP)
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Iraqi Yazidis attend the exhumation of a mass-grave of hundreds of Yazidis killed by Daesh militants in the northern Iraqi village of Kojo in Sinjar district on March 15, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 16 March 2019

Iraq begins exhuming mass Yazidi grave left by Daesh

  • Daesh militants rampaged across Sinjar in 2014, killing Yazidi men and abducting thousands of women and children
  • Many followers of the minority faith are still missing, after women were forced into sexual slavery and boys were indoctrinated in extremist ideology

ERBIL: The Iraqi government has started exhuming a mass grave left behind by Daesh in the northwestern Sinjar region in the presence of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Nadia Murad, whose slain relatives are believed to have been buried in the area.
The exhumation, which is being carried out with UN support, began Friday in the village of Kocho. Murad’s official website said it marks the first exhumation of a mass grave containing the remains of Yazidis, a religious minority targeted for extermination by the extremists.
Daesh militants rampaged across Sinjar in 2014, killing Yazidi men and abducting thousands of women and children. Many followers of the minority faith are still missing, after women were forced into sexual slavery and boys were indoctrinated in extremist ideology.
“I pay my condolence to the Yazidis and the whole humanity. There is not a single Yazidi family that didn’t taste the bitterness of this extermination,” said Murad. “They all lost their loved ones, their properties and their dreams, and especially in this village,” she said.
Murad was one of an estimated 3,000 Yazidi women and girls who were kidnapped and sold into sexual slavery. She was raped, beaten and tortured before she managed to escape after three months in captivity.
Over 70 mass graves have been discovered in Sinjar since it was liberated from Daesh in November 2015.
In November, UN investigators said they have verified the location of more than 200 mass grave sites from the time of Daesh rule in northern Iraq, containing the bodies of between 6,000 and 12,000 victims.
Nada Selo, an activist from Kocho, lamented the slow pace of efforts to identify and recover victims.
“Negligence has been going on for four years and until now. The people were hoping during all this time to see their relatives alive. So honestly, this is a huge disappointment for us as Yazidis, and it is a real tragedy,” she said.
A statement issued earlier this week by Murad, global Yazidi NGO Yazda and their joint legal counsel Amal Clooney welcomed the process in Kocho. They expressed hope it would be part of a “comprehensive effort which will result in the exhumation of all Daesh mass graves in Sinjar and beyond, the return of victims’ remains to their families and the investigation of the relevant crimes, leading to the prosecution of the responsible Daesh militants.”
Daesh is on the verge of losing the last area it controls in Syria as US-backed fighters squeeze the extremists in the village of Baghouz near the Iraqi border. Over the past months a number of Yazidi women and children have been freed in eastern Syria.


Militant group says cease-fire reached to fighting in Gaza

Updated 14 November 2019

Militant group says cease-fire reached to fighting in Gaza

  • Spokesman Musab Al-Berim says the Egyptian-brokered deal went into effect at 5:30 a.m. Thursday
  • The fighting broke out early Tuesday after Israel killed a senior commander of the militant group

GAZA: A militant group says a cease-fire has been reached to end two days of heavy fighting with Israel.

Spokesman Musab Al-Berim says the Egyptian-brokered deal went into effect at 5:30 a.m. (0330 GMT) Thursday.

He says the cease-fire was based on a list of demands presented by his group late Wednesday, including a halt to Israeli targeted killings of the group’s leaders.

Israel will follow suit if Palestinian fighters in the Gaza Strip stop cross-border attacks, an Israeli official said on Thursday, denying that Israel had changed open-fire policy as demanded by the militant group for a truce.

“Quiet will be answered with quiet,” Foreign Minister Israel Katz told Army Radio. “The State of Israel will not hesitate to strike at those who try to harm it, from the Gaza Strip or from anywhere else.”

The fighting broke out early Tuesday after Israel killed a senior commander of the militant group.

There was no immediate comment from Israel.