40 Indians reportedly kidnapped in Iraq


New Delhi: Around 40 Indians working on projects near the Iraqi city of Mosul were kidnapped by suspected ISIS militants when they were being evacuated from the area Tuesday, local media said Wednesday.

They were kidnapped when fleeing the fighting between ISIS and Kurdish forces Tuesday, said Times of India online.

Mosul, the heart of the oil-rich region dominated by ethnic Kurds, was captured Tuesday by ISIS raiders before being retaken by the Kurd militia.

Indian government has got in touch with Iraqi authorities and dispatched former ambassador to Iraq Suresh Reddy to the war- ravaged country.

Reddy is reportedly on his way to Mosul.

Earlier, the Iraqi envoy to India was called for consultations in the external affairs ministry in the wake of the worsening situation in violence-hit Iraq and ways of helping the Indian community there, including nurses.

Anil Wadhwa, secretary (east) in the ministry, met Iraqi Ambassador Ahmed Derwari in South Block.

Wadhwa is also chairing a crisis management meeting on the Iraq situation to discuss possible ways to provide ground level help to the Indians there, he added.

The Indian government is also keeping its options open for possible evacuation if the situation demands.

Indian Ambassador in Baghdad, Ajay Kumar, has been in regular touch with the Indians. India also issued an advisory that nobody else should travel to Iraq, Akbaruddin said earlier.

India has requested the International Red Crescent to go across to Tikrit and to ensure their (nurses) safety at first hand, Akbaruddin said earlier.

Al-Qaeda-inspired militants have overrun the Iraqi cities of Mosul and Tikrit threatening the security and territorial integrity of the country. They are proceeding towards Baghdad.

The US and Iran are actively considering ways to help the Iraqi government tackle the situation.


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