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Inside Islamic State's network of underground tunnels, filled with drugs and ammunition

Thirty to 40 tunnels were found in Sinjar, Iraq,, each wired with electricity and each with their own sleeping quarters.

OVER THE PAST year, Islamic State has constructed an astonishing network of underground tunnels in the town of Sinjar, Iraq, which they seized in 2014.

The Associated Press obtained remarkable footage of the tunnels, which were packed with US-made ammunition, prescription drugs, and copies of the Quran.

Thirty to 40 tunnels were found in total, each wired with electricity and each with their own sleeping quarters. The extremist group had carved out a small community in its underground network of tunnels.

The tunnels were discovered by Kurdish forces who retook Sinjar, Iraq, earlier this month, more than a year after it fell into Islamic State’s control.

Source: AP Photo via AP video

Much of the town now looks like this, with no signs of human life. Islamic State killed and captured thousands of the town’s Yazidi residents, and it’s thought many of them are still being held captive.

Source: AP Video/Screenshot

Inside the tunnels is everything the militants needed to survive underground for prolonged periods of time.

Source: AP Video/Screenshot

They were just tall enough for someone to stand in and were fitted with luxuries such as sleeping quarters, wired electricity, and cooking tools. It’s thought the winding corridors were carved out using pneumatic drills.

Source: AP Video/Screenshot

Militants used the tunnels as a way to navigate its territory while also sheltering from coalition airstrikes. Inside, ammunition made in the US was a common sight.

Source: AP Video/Screenshot

Dust-covered copies of the Quaran were also left abandoned.

Source: AP Video/Screenshot

And boxes of prescription drugs littered the floor.

Source: AP Video/Screenshot

Lina Khatib, a senior research associate at the Arab Reform initiative, told Associated Press that the tunnels have been part of Islamic State long-term plan. The group had been preparing for Western intervention.

Source: AP Video

The tunnels are fortified with sandbags in order to soften the blow against airstrikes. “This was their military arsenal,” Shamo Eado, a commander from the Iraqi Kurdish fighters known as peshmerga, told the Associated Press.

Source: AP Video/Screenshot

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Upon exiting the underground network, you’re greeted with the ruins of buildings, once again, fortified with sandbags.

Source: AP Video/Screenshot

Outside, two mass graves have been uncovered in the area, testimony to the brutal atrocities carried out by ISIS in its territory.

Source: AP Video/Screenshot

According to the report in the Associated Press, 78 elderly women’s bodies were found in a mass grave not far from the city centre.

Source: AP Photo via AP video

Watch the full video.

- Charles Clark

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