Baghdad: The governor of Iraqi province of Diyala announced on Tuesday that a high-level security committee will be formed to investigate what he called the human horrific massacre involving more than 70 civilians, including women and children, in a village.
Unidentified gunmen killed more than 70 unarmed civilians of Barwanah village in Diyala after they fled clashes with Islamic State (IS) militants, a source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
The source added that it was too soon to draw conclusions and suggested IS could have been behind the deaths in the village.
Last Friday, thousands of Iraqi Army, police and Shia militias backed by Iraqi aircrafts launched a major offensive in Diyala with the aim of ending the presence of the extremist militants in the province.
However, despite the announcement of liberating Diyala, three Shia militiamen were killed and four wounded Monday morning when a roadside bomb struck a Shia militia vehicle near an orchard northeast of Maqdadiyah, a police source said.
The security situation in Iraq began to drastically deteriorate June 10, 2014, when bloody clashes broke out between the Iraqi security forces and the IS group, an al Qaeda offshoot.
The group later took control of Iraq`s northern province of Nineveh and later seized swathes of territories after Iraqi security forces abandoned their posts in other predominantly Sunni provinces.