Iraq mass grave found

A shallow mass grave, filled with dozens of people apparently executed after a failed 1991 Shiite uprising against Saddam Hussein, has been found.

The gravesite was found 13 miles north-west of Najaf, one of the most holy cities for Shiite Muslims. Bullet casings also were found near the graves.

About 25 bodies have been dug up so far, and 10 of those have been identified. It is unclear how many bodies are buried at the site. A further 20 sets of remains can been seen but several mounds are visible dotting the flat farmland -- hills that US Marines in the area said could mark additional gravesites.

Some bodies had identification cards in their pockets.

"I'm looking for my own relatives," said Jawad Shaker. Another person said he was looking for his nephew who disappeared in 1991.

Farmers in the area said they had known about the site for years but were afraid to talk about it while Saddam was still in power.

One farmer, who refused to give his name, said he saw people blindfolded and shot in the back of the head after the 1991 Shiite uprising.

"Everybody knew and could see, but they kept quiet," said Kamel al-Tamini, another farmer living in the area. "We were told to stay away from this area, not to go near it, that it was a security zone."

The Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, a Shiite group, was directing the excavation of the site and said it was preparing a special section of a cemetery to re-bury those who it called the "martyrs" of 1991.

Tens of thousands of people were killed after Iraq's Shiite majority rose up after the 1991 Gulf War and seized control of most of the south of the country. Shiites, a minority in the Islamic world, compose 60 percent of Iraq's Muslims and were dominated for a generation by Saddam's overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim Baath Party.

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