Iraq crisis: Mass execution site where Isis massacred at least 160 men identified by satellite images

Human Rights Watch claims to have found evidence of a 'horrible war crime'

Analysis of photographs and satellite images of mass graves back up claims that militants in Iraq massacred at least 160 captives in the northern city of Tikrit, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has claimed.

HRW said that between 160 and 190 men were killed in at least two locations in and around Tikrit - the hometown of late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein - between 11 June and 14 June.

An unverified statement from Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isis) militants on Twitter claimed to have executed 1,700 prisoners, before it posted gruesome pictures of groups of apparently executed men.

HRW said Isis posted about 60 photographs on its Twitter feed on 14 June, showing fighters loading captives in civilian clothes onto trucks and then forcing them to lie in three shallow trenches.

In further graphic photos, gunmen could be seen firing at captives.

Based on a count of the bodies visible in the available photographs, HRW estimated that Isis insurgents killed between 90 and 110 men in the first trench in a field around 100m north of the city's Water Palace at between 1.30pm and 2.30pm.

It said between 35 and 40 men were killed in the second between 2.30pm and 3.30pm. A further photograph shows a large trench with between 35 and 40 prisoners shot but HRW said it had not been able to pinpoint the site. Militants of the Isis group executing dozens of captured Iraqi security forces members at an unknown location in the Salaheddin province Militants of the Isis group executing dozens of captured Iraqi security forces members at an unknown location in the Salaheddin province

Read more: 'mass execution' pushes Iraq towards sectarian war

HRW said that the death toll could be much higher but the difficulty of locating bodies and getting to the area had prevented a full investigation.

An image posted on a militant website appears to show Isis fighters leading away captured Iraqi soldiers for execution in Tikrit An image posted on a militant website appears to show Isis fighters leading away captured Iraqi soldiers for execution in Tikrit “The photos and satellite images from Tikrit provide strong evidence of a horrible war crime that needs further investigation,” said Peter Bouckaert, HRW emergencies director.

“ISIS apparently executed at the very least 160 people in Tikrit.”

Iraq's human rights minister confirmed Isis had executed 175 Iraqi Air Force recruits in Tikrit on 22 June.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
A monstrous idea? Body transplants might no longer be science fiction
Science An Italian neurosurgeon believes so - and it's not quite as implausible as it sounds, says Steve Connor
Sport
Demba Ba (right) celebrates after Besiktas win on penalties
footballThere was no happy return to the Ataturk Stadium, where the Reds famously won Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
arts + ents
News
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
arts + ents...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
News
Image from a flyer at the CPAC event where Nigel Farage will be speaking
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper

£23000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small, friendly, proactive...

Recruitment Genius: Photographic Event Crew

£14500 - £22800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developers - .NET / ASP.NET / WebAPI / JavaScript

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Software Developer is required to join a lea...

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Tax Solicitor - City

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: A first rate opportunity to join a top ranking...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower