“When I see these destroyed stones on their graves, I feel grief, like they have died a second time,” Hammad said. (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)
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Sitting on cardboard and surrounded by relatives, Hammad sobbed quietly over the mound of earth and rocks beneath a sky darkened by oil well fires set weeks ago by Daesh (ISIS) fighters. The graveyard south of Mosul is littered with smashed headstones – also demolished by the militants.The cemetery was marked by war long before Daesh arrived.Hammad has seven other relatives buried in the cemetery, somewhere under the jagged stones.Abdel-Razak Tallab came to the cemetery to visit his sister-in-law, who was killed this month, also by a Daesh mortar round, and his brother, who was slain by a car bomb in Mosul in 2008 . When Daesh controlled Qayyarah, Tallab said the extremists recruited him to drive prisoners to the graveyard to destroy the stones. Men arrested for smoking or shaving their beards were forced to desecrate the graves of their ancestors.
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