Investigators in southern Iraq have recently discovered several mass graves that officials say are believed to contain thousands of victims of Saddam Hussein's government.

In a report published Friday in the New York Times, Iraqi officials say one grave located near Basra may contain the bodies of as many as 5000 Iraqi soldiers killed after a failed 1991 uprising against Saddam Hussein's government.

A second grave located near Samawa is believed to contain the bodies of 2000 members of a clan led by Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) leader Massoud Barzani.  It remains unclear how the bodies ended up in southern Iraq.

Officials say the new graves could be among the largest of the more than 250 mass graves unearthed across Iraq since Saddam's ouster in 2003.