Iraq: Tension escalates, 40 Indian workers kidnapped

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Iraq
Baghdad, June 18: Fresh reports from various humanitarian agencies in Iraq have confirmed that over 40 Indian workers employed with a construction firm have been kidnapped by the ISIS militants, while they were being evacuated from the area.

As per the Times of India reports, former ambassador of Iraq-Suresh Reddy who is in New Delhi and is awaiting his next posting has been sent back to Mosul . The report further added,"Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who reviewed the situation with foreign policy and security experts, has directed that no effort be spared to ensure the safe return of hapless Indian workers. Sources in the government said the PM has asked all sources to be tapped for locating the workers. National security advisor AK Doval is coordinating the rescue effort."

Last week, Sunni and Kurdish militants captured some the key areas in the country and started a massive onslaught of military personnel, which they recorded and posted on social media sites. the ghory act was criticised by many world leaders and many countries decided to evacuate embassy staff from Iraq.

Apart from these 41 Indian workers, 46 Indian nurses are stranded in Tirkit, most of whom are from Kerala.
While most of the nurses have decided to stay back, the consruction workers are reported to have been calling their family members for help since Sunday.

According to the DNA, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj has formed a crisis management group, under the secretary (east) Anil Wadhwa for constant monitoring of the situation.

The ministry is reported to be interacting closely with the Iraqi ambassador Ahmad Tahseen Ahmad Berwari here. Spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said, "they discussed possibilities of ground-level cooperation and assistance in helping Indian nationals who are in the affected areas. We shall, of course, be monitoring the situation on an hourly basis and will keep you informed if there are further developments in this regard."

Various agencies have confirmed that close to 10,000 workers are stranded here. Last week, Sunni militants of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) have taken control of various places in Iraq and are heading toward Baghdad, the country's capital and the world's oil hub, sending jitters across the world.

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