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Iraq crisis: 16 Indians evacuated from Iraq, 1 of the 40 kidnapped escapes


244491-iraq-violence-mosul-capture-afpNew Delhi: Sixteen Indians stranded in violence-affected areas of Iraq have been evacuated and one of the 40 kidnapped Indians has escaped from captivity in Mosul town even as government said it was “knocking at all doors” to rescue its citizens.

As concerns mounted for the kidnapped Indians and 46 nurses trapped in Tikrit, Government said it was making all out efforts and was in touch with a number of countries in the region besides Iraqi authorities to resolve the crisis.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed the situation at a high-level meeting which was attended by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth, Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh and heads of intelligence and security agencies.

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said the meeting reviewed the “entire dimensions” of the situation taking into consideration all facts and information available to the government.

“We are knocking at all types of doors, front, back, trapped,” the MEA spokesperson said when asked whether negotiations had been initiated with the militants who kidnapped the Indians.

Asked whether government was considering flying them as well as those stranded in conflict zone, he said, “when lives of our nationals are involved no option is off the table”.

He said one of the kidnapped Indians has fled from the captors and is in touch the embassy in Baghdad while all those in captivity were “safe”.

The 40 Indian construction workers were kidnapped in from Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city which was seized by Sunni militants.

Eight Indians have been moved out of trouble-torn Baiji while eight others, who were working with Lanco at its project in Anbar were also evacuated. All them were first brought to Baghdad and then travelled out of the country, said the spokesperson.

The government is in constant touch with the 46 nurses stranded in Tikrit town, which was also taken over by Sunni militants.

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