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Spain discovers two mass graves of Civil War victims in Belchite

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By Euronews  with EFE
A tourist guide walks down the central street through the ruins of Belchite village.
A tourist guide walks down the central street through the ruins of Belchite village.   -   Copyright  GERARD JULIEN/AFP/FILE

Spanish authorities have uncovered two graves containing the bodies of dozens of victims from the Civil War.

The graves were found after archaeological excavations at a cemetery in Belchite, in the northern province of Zaragoza.

The site was one of the bloodiest battlefields during the Spanish Civil War between 1936 and 1939.

Officials say fifteen bodies have been found in one of the graves, and estimate that the remains of around 150 people could be buried there.

A total of 400 people from Belchite and the surrounding area were killed in the town during the war following the 1936 coup, led by former dictator Francisco Franco.

Excavation work on the graves indicates that the victims suffered "significant violence" before their execution. Most of the skeletal remains found belonged to men and women between the ages of 20 and 40 years old.

Anthropologist José Ignacio Lorenzo has described the discovery as "very important" and said "meticulous" work would be carried out to identify the victims.

According to experts and memory associations, an estimated 130,000 people are buried in unidentified mass graves throughout Spain, 90,000 of whom were shot during the civil war and 40,000 in the post-war period.