U.S. forces have found the bodies of 13 men in a mass grave in Iraq's restive Diyala province northeast of Baghdad, police said on Tuesday, the latest such grisly find in recent months.
The unidentified bodies were found dumped in a hole in the town of Muqdadiya, 90 km (55 miles) northeast of Baghdad. All were handcuffed, had gunshot wounds in the head and showed evidence of being tortured, police said.
The bodies were discovered in an orchard during a U.S.-led operation in the area on Monday, police said.
Despite attacks across Iraq falling by 60 percent since last June, ethnically-mixed Diyala remains a headache for the U.S. and Iraqi forces.
It is one of four provinces where U.S. and Iraqi forces have launched offensives to root out al-Qaida militants, who have regrouped north of Baghdad after being ousted from former strongholds to the west and around the capital.
U.S. commanders say the Sunni Muslim militants have frequently clashed with U.S.-backed neighborhood police patrols, mainly made up of Sunni Arab tribes who rebelled against al-Qaida.
Last week a grave containing 50 bodies was found in an area near Samarra, 100 km north of Baghdad while the bodies of around 20 men, women and children were found in December in a grave near the former insurgent stronghold of Falluja.