Skip to main content
CNN EditionWorld
The Web     
Powered by
powered by Yahoo!
Iraq Banner

U.S. military: Remains from Iran-Iraq war

All the injuries appeared consistent with combat, experts say.

Story Tools

•  Commanders: U.S. | Iraq
•  Weapons: 3D Models

SOUTHERN IRAQ (CNN) -- More than 400 sets of human remains discovered in a barracks outside of Basra are of soldiers killed during the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, the leader of a U.S. military team that examined them said Sunday.

Forensics experts sent to southern Iraq to analyze the makeshift coffins and plastic bags in which the human body parts were found said all the injuries appeared consistent with combat, contrary to initial reports from an Iranian news agency some showed signs of torture.

CWO Dan Walters with the U.S Army told reporters the bodies were mostly those of Iraqi fighters, and appeared to be a staging point for the exchange of such remains between Iraq and Iran. British soldiers with the Third Regiment of the Royal Artillery made the gruesome discovery in an abandoned warehouse.

"Some had tatters of uniforms hidden amongst the human remains," said U.S. Central Command Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks during a briefing Sunday. Some of the soldiers said the makeshift wooden, open-face coffins were stacked deep in the warehouse and belonged to the 51st Division headquarters of the Iraqi regular army.

The bodies were located over the recent months in joint recovery operations along the Iran-Iraq border, Iranian Army Gen. Mirfeisal Baqerzadeh, head of the search and recovery committee for those missing in action, told the Iranian newspaper Jomhouri-E Eslami.

The newspaper quoted Baqerzadeh saying Iran and Iraq scrapped the search and recovery operations for the missing in action on the Iraqi territory 15 days before the war started.

The remains were found in plastic bags and makeshift coffins

"We eagerly ask the International Committee of the Red Cross to carry out its obligations and immediately take delivery of the bodies from the U.S.-British troops, and return them to Iran in Shalamcheh border point with Iraq," the Iranian newspaper quoted Baqerzadeh.

British soldiers at the scene said a neighboring building contained photographs of the dead, most of whom had died from gunshot wounds to the head.

The faded black and white photographs showed others mutilated beyond recognition, their faces burned and swollen, according to news reports. Human skulls, their teeth broken and missing, looked out from other bags, bundled into the coffins.

Each coffin carried an inscription in Arabic, perhaps the identity of the person inside, and the bags were scrawled on with marker pen. Some of the paperwork appeared to be from around 1985, a British soldier told the news agency.

-- CNN correspondents Richard Blystone and John Bisney contributed to this report

Story Tools
Subscribe to Time for $1.99 cover
Top Stories
Iran poll to go to run-off
Top Stories
CNN/Money: Security alert issued for 40 million credit cards

International Edition
CNN TV CNN International Headline News Transcripts Advertise With Us About Us
   The Web     
Powered by
© 2005 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us.
external link
All external sites will open in a new browser. does not endorse external sites.
 Premium content icon Denotes premium content.
Add RSS headlines.