A cemetery with the graves of nearly 500 Isis fighters has been discovered near the city of Fallujah in Iraq's Anbar province, the country's Ministry of Defence said.

The graves were said to be of both Iraqi and foreign Isis fighters and included some women. They were most likely killed in fighting with Iraqi government forces.

Photographs released on Facebook by the Iraqi defence ministry of the graves found near the town of al-Saqlawiya, northwest of Fallujah, showed that some of the militants were killed in 2016. Fallujah was liberated from the Islamist militant group in June 2016 following more than a month-long intense fighting. The city is located around 69km from the Iraqi capital Baghdad.

The discovery has come to light as Iraqi troops continue to eliminate more militants in their push to liberate west Mosul. A commander from Iraq's anti-terror elite troops told Rudaw recently that more than 700 jihadists have so far been killed in battle in the western part of the city.

East Mosul was declared liberated by the Iraqi government in late January, following which the operation on the western side of River Tigris began on 19 February. The Iraqi forces are said to be approaching an important bridge that connects the two parts of the city, which was once an Isis stronghold in Iraq.

مديرية الاستخبارات العسكرية تعثر على مقبرة تضم أكثر من (500) قبر تابعة لعناصر داعش...

Posted by Iraqi ministry of defence on Tuesday, March 14, 2017

"Since the operation started in the western parts of the city, more than 700 Isis militants have been killed with the majority of them being foreign fighters," Major General Maan Saad was quoted as saying, adding that the troops were advancing towards "the industrial neighbourhood and the factory areas in the new eastern Mosul with the oil companies circled by our troops".

Hazim Karim, an army commander said: "They are still using car bombs and put up resistance in those areas they control, but the tide is against them [Isis], as you see we are in the centre of the western half of the city." He added that they were now expecting more frequent house-to-house gun battles in the central parts of the city as the jihadists had punched holes in people's homes to move across west Mosul undetected.

Isis mass grave
Iraqi forces have discovered a cemetery with the graves of Isis fighters near Fallujah, who were likely killed in Iraqi army operations - File photo Reuters