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India confirms deaths of 39 missing citizens in Iraq

Daesh militants [PaulGrantBilous/Twitter]
Fighters against Daesh hold up a Daesh flag in Mosul after the city was liberated from the terrorist organisation [PaulGrantBilous/Twitter]

External affairs minister on Tuesday confirmed the deaths of all 39 Indians who were abducted by Daesh terrorists in 2014 in Iraq’s Mosul city.

Addressing the parliament, Sushma Swaraj said DNA tests had confirmed the bodies found at a mass grave in Badush in northern Iraq belonged to their missing citizens.

Last year, Swaraj told the parliament that unless she gets concrete proof she would not declare the missing Indians dead.

Union Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh is expected to bring the remains of the missing Indians back to the country.

Forty Indian nationals, who were employed at a construction site in Mosul, were kidnapped by suspected Daesh terrorists in 2014; one of them Harjeet Masih had managed to escape.

Read: Iraq forces shoot down two bombers near Mosul

Masih later claimed the armed men had gunned down the rest of the group, an assertion rejected by the government initially.

Indian channel Doordarshan said the slain Indians were first kept at a textile factory in Mosul and after Masih escaped, they were moved to a prison in Badush.

According to the Press Trust of India (PTI), a deep penetration radar was used to establish the presence of bodies below a mound in Badush.

The bodies were later exhumed with help from Iraqi authorities and sent for DNA testing to Baghdad, the report said.

Families of the victims said they were finding it hard to believe that their near and dear ones were no more.

Swaran Singh, the brother of one of those killed, slammed the government for not informing the families first.

“The minister should have called us before exploding the bomb on us,” he said.

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