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By NBC News

A mass grave containing the bodies of around 40 civilians has been found in the Iraqi city of Ramadi, a regional official said Monday.

Iraqi forces last month retook the center of the city, which is the capital of Anbar province, more than seven months after it was overrun by ISIS.

Eed Amash, spokesman of Anbar Governing Council, told NBC News that officials predicted they would find more mass graves from the newly liberated city.

"Once our forces clear the city from IEDs we will certainly discover more mass graves," he said.

Iraqi pro-government forces drive a military vehicle as they try to secure all the neighborhoods of Ramadi, Iraq, on Sunday.AFP - Getty Images

According to Amash, around 600 families were able to escape the city while it was under ISIS' control, but an unknown number were captured by retreating militants "to use them as human shields," he said.

The army's success in ousting ISIS from Ramadi marks a milestone for Iraqi forces, who suffered a humiliating setback when the Sunni militants seized the city in May.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter congratulated Iraqi forces for the "significant step forward" in retaking Ramadi, saying in a statement it showed how "capable, motivated local forces backed by coalition air support and training" can defeat ISIS.