Baghdad, Feb 4 (IANS): Authorities in Iraq's Nineveh said that 10 bodies, believed to be of Islamic State (IS) militants, were retrieved under the debris of devastated buildings in the provincial capital of Mosul.
The bodies were found when the municipality of Mosul was removing the rubble of dozens of devastated buildings on the bank of the Tigris River in the Shahwan neighbourhood in the old city centre, Hussam Khalil from the Civil Defense told Xinhua on Thursday.
Khalil added that the 23 decomposed corpses were believed to be IS terrorists who were killed during the battles to liberate the city in mid-2017.
The municipality found explosive belts, weapons, and roadside bombs near the bodies, he said, adding that the municipality will continue removing the rubble from the devastated areas, especially in the old city centre.
On Monday, Khalil had confirmed the discovery of 23 bodies while removing the rubble from the city's Ras al-Kour neighbourhood.
Over the past years, the provincial authorities have carried out campaigns to retrieve hundreds of bodies for people killed and buried under rubble.
They are either IS militants or civilians who were prevented by the extremist militants from leaving their homes during the fierce battles and heavy bombardment in the city, which is located some 400 km north of the Iraqi capital Baghdad.
In July 2017, Iraq officially declared the liberation of Mosul, the second-largest city in Iraq, from the IS after nearly nine months of fighting to dislodge the extremist militants from their last major stronghold in the country.
The IS had taken over Mosul in 2014 after the terror group defeated the Iraqi Army.
After seizing control of the city, the IS executed some 4,000 Iraqi Security Force prisoners, and dumped their bodies in the single largest known mass grave in Iraq, at the "Khafsa Sinkhole".
This mass grave was uncovered during the Battle of Mosul (2016–17).