Iraqi PM says fate of 39 Indian workers unknown

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Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi says the fate of 39 Indians captured by the Islamic State group when the extremists initially overran Mosul three years ago is still unknown.

Al-Abadi says the situation is “still under investigation at the moment. I cannot comment any further,” in an exclusive interview with The Associated Press.

India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had told relatives of the workers in July that they might be held in a prison in Badush, northwest of Mosul, which Iraqi forces have taken back from IS.

An Iraqi construction company had employed the abducted workers, mostly from northern India. Thousands of Indians worked and lived in Iraq before IS swept across the country’s north and west in 2014.

Iraqi forces declared victory over IS in Mosul in July after a gruelling nine-month fight.