Mass grave discovered south of Baghdad
Residents of Babylon have discovered a mass grave believed to date back to an uprising put down by Iraq's ousted regime of Saddam Hussein after the 1991 Gulf War and had already dug up 35 corpses.
They uncovered bones and skulls which were collected Saturday in small piles at a wasteland on the southern edge of the city, some 100 kilometers south of Baghdad.
US marines at the site said the bones included those of children aged about 10-12.
"We suspect that this happened during the 1991 uprising and eyewitnesses say they saw people drive up here to dump the dead," Lieutenant David Lewis of the 1st Marine regiment, 1/4 battalion, told Reuters.
"Some of the skulls appear to have been cut open, maybe they were experimenting with the prisoners. Some were executed, you can see bullet holes in their skulls. Some were still strapped to metal structures."
He said the scientists would help with the further excavation of the site, just a few miles from Babylon, an ancient town south of Baghdad, in the cradle of civilization.
Cuts were visible on some skulls, prompting a resident to say that Saddam's henchmen had cut off heads with power saws.
The International Committee of the Red Cross announced at the end of April that it had contacted US-led coalition forces to try to check numerous reports about mass graves in Iraq.
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)