An investigation has been started in Iraq after 20 family members, including women and children, were killed in a security operation in the city of Babylon.

The civilians died in a shoot-out on Thursday between security forces and a suspect wanted on terrorism charges, according to the Iraqi army’s Babylon Operations Command.

Hassan al-Mandeel, the governor of Babylon, termed the loss of innocent lives “a grave crime that cannot be tolerated.”

He said in a statement that an investigative committee has been set up to “probe the reasons that led to this massacre,” vowing that the people responsible will “receive the appropriate punishment.”

Iraqi forces have recently ramped up operations to apprehend suspects wanted on terrorism charges, particularly in provinces that were under the Daesh/ISIS terror group’s control between 2014 and 2017.

*Writing by Bassel Barakat

Copyright 2022 Anadolu Agency. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.