Hawzah News Agency (Takrit, Iraq) - Colonel Fayez al-Hajjaji, a provincial police official, told Arabic-language al-Mawazin news agency that police forces unearthed the mass grave near the provincial capital city of Tikrit, located 140 kilometers northwest of Baghdad.
Hajjaji added the mass grave contained the bodies of 54 victims, noting that there were the remains of foreign nationals among the corpses.
The Iraqi police official went on to say that most of the corpses bore signs of gunshots, and some had been decapitated.
Attacks kill 4 civilians in northern Iraq
Moreover, four civilians were killed in two separate attacks in northern Iraq on Saturday.
First Lieutenant Jamal al-Khalidi said suspected Daesh militants attacked the town of al-Asadiyah, south of Mosul, killing three people before fleeing the scene.
Another civilian lost his life when a vehicle hit a roadside bomb north of Tikrit. Ten other people also suffered injuries in the blast.
Explosions in former Daesh strongholds in Iraq kill 1, wound some 40
Separately, police authorities say two bombs have exploded in former Daesh strongholds in central Iraq, killing one person and wounding dozens more.
The first blast occurred in the city of Fallujah, located roughly 69 kilometers west of Baghdad, when a parked car went off. The explosion wounded two security men and three civilians, and caused material damage.
The second attack took place in the oil-rich northern city of Baiji, when a roadside bomb targeted a bus carrying employees of the al-Siniya oil refinery. The blast killed one employee and wounded 32 others.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who is also the commander-in-chief of Iraqi forces, pledged on June 30 to hunt down Daesh terrorists across Iraq after a series of attacks and abductions carried out by the terrorist group.
“We will chase the remaining cells of terrorism in their hideouts and we will kill them, we will chase them everywhere, in the mountains and the desert,” Abadi said.
Abadi declared the end of military operations against Daesh in the Arab country on December 9, 2017.
On July 10 that year, the Iraqi prime minister formally declared victory over Daesh in Mosul, which served as the terrorists’ main urban stronghold in the conflict-ridden Arab country.
In the run-up to Mosul's liberation, Iraqi army soldiers and volunteer Hashd al-Sha’abi fighters had made sweeping gains against Daesh.
Iraqi forces took control of eastern Mosul in January 2017 after 100 days of fighting, and launched the battle in the west on February 19 last year.
Daesh began a terror campaign in Iraq in 2014, overrunning vast swathes in lightning attacks.