46 nurses freed by ISIS, to return India by tomorrow

New Delhi, 4 July-2014(ANI): Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin on Friday said that the 46 nurses who were stranded in Iraq and moved to another location against their will yesterday, are now free.

46 nurses freed by ISIS, to return India by tomorrow

46 nurses freed by ISIS, to return India by tomorrow

Relatives of Indian prisoners jailed in Iraq pose at a church in Amritsar. (AFP photo)

“Indian nurses, who were yesterday moved against their will, are now free. They are in touch with our officials in Erbil, and the process underway for their return to India. Even as we speak, an Air India has taken off and will land late tonight in Erbil. From Erbil, it will first fly to Kochi, drop the nurses, following which, it might come to Delhi, if required,” said Akbaruddin.

“46 of our nationals have been rescued from zone of conflict. We are working on those still in captivity. The nurses will board the flight along with 70 others from Kirkuk. It is a multiplicity of contacts that help in such an endeavor. Please be rest assured that every effort is being made, please have trust that we are working on this,” he added.

“Anything we say may possibly impact other elements, so I am not going to say who we worked with and how we worked. The EAM extensively interacted with her counterparts; this process has been underway for quite some time,” he added.

Earlier today, Kerala Chief Minister Ommen Chandy’s office sources said that the 46 nurses who were stranded in Iraq will reach Erbil International Airport today and leave for Kochi tomorrow.

The 46 nurses had been reportedly taken away by ISIS militants from Tikrit to an old building somewhere in Mosul late on Thursday night.

There were about 10,000 Indians in Iraq before the start of the strife between government troops and Sunni militants. The militants have captured two key cities and have their sights set on Baghdad. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been displaced in the fighting that broke out on June 10. (ANI)