Iraqi security forces say they have found the bodies of 53 men who had been bound and executed.
Officials say the men were found in orchards south of the Babil provincial capital, Hilla, all with gunshots to the head or chest.
Hilla is some 100 kilometers south of the capital, Baghdad.
The victims -- who have not yet been identified -- are believed to have been killed at least a week ago.
It was not immediately clear why the men were killed.
Iraq has suffered increasing violence over the past year, much of it blamed on the radical militant group the Islamic State, formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Based on reporting by AFP and dpa