Indian Nurses Stranded in Iraq Being Freed

The 46 nurses from India who were stuck inside a part of Iraq controlled by militants are in the process of being freed. The group will be flown to India very soon, an official with the government familiar with this matter announced Friday.

News of the nurses’ release comes just a day after the 46 were loaded onto buses and moved from a Tikrit hospital against their will, to Mosul a city in the north considered to be a stronghold of the militants. Tikrit is under Sunni insurgents’ control.

The official from India said on Friday the nurses were in route by bus to Erbil. The logistics over their travel back to India were being worked on.

The foreign ministry of India declined to disclose on Thursday who forced the group of nurses to leave the hospital in Tikrit or if they were abducted by insurgents.

Nonetheless, their relocation under stress stirred some fears over their safety, creating a major political challenge for the government of India.

On Thursday, officials said the government had been working its connections diplomatically, calling on neighboring country’s governments as well as other across the region.

One nurse from India, who is 24, had left her normal work in a hospital there to work in an Iraqi hospital as a nurse close to 10 months ago. Family members said the nurse was not treated badly during the three weeks they were trapped.

The news about the nurses being freed increased hopes that the government of India would also secure the release of more than three dozen construction workers who had been kidnapped in the city of Mosul over two weeks again and are still in captivity.

India will send an aircraft to pick the nurses up and return them to their families in India. The plane is due to land Saturday morning in Kochi, a city to the south.

Earlier this week, some of the group of nurses had told a British media outlet by telephone that the fighting reached the compound of the hospital and several explosions could be hears near their hiding place.

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