Members of the Iraqi security forces and Popular Mobilization units pray during a memorial ceremony on the Tigris river.
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On the Tigris River waterfront where jihadis executed hundreds of captured Iraqi army recruits last year, bloodstains are gradually being covered by streaks of candle wax dripping down the quay.A symbolic tombstone has been laid where ISIS fighters carried out their assembly-line slaughter, shooting the young mostly Shiite men in the head before tipping them into the river one by one.Two weeks after troops and militia retook Tikrit, the main site of the "Speicher massacre" – named after the military base near which the victims were seized – is fast becoming a pilgrimage destination.Kadhim Abdulhassan's cousin was one of the up to 1,700 recruits who were seized by ISIS in June 2014 when the group swept through almost a third of Iraq.Combined with a call by Sistani for Iraqis to take up arms against them, the June 2014 massacre played a key role in the mass recruitment of Shiite volunteers to fight the jihadis.
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