In a sigh of relief for the Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre, Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants on Friday set free the 46 Indian nurses, who were confined in Iraq’s Mosul city.
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, who met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj confirmed the development saying that nurses held by Sunni insurgents in Iraq are to be taken to an airport, apparently to fly them to India.
“The nurses are being taken to the Erbil airport,” Chandy said.
Meanwhile, reports said that the nurses, who would be reaching Erbil later today, will be flown to Kochi on Saturday.
Report also said that a special flight will be leave for Erbil airport from New Delhi’s IGI airport at 5 pm today to bring back the stranded nurses.
Two officials from Central and Kerala government respectively will be on board the special flight from the national capital.
Earlier, the nurses who were forcibly moved by suspected Sunni militants from Tikrit reached the Iraqi city of Mosul Thursday night.
Meanwhile, one of the 46 nurses from Kerala has spoken to her mother and said all of them were safe.
The government has formed a crisis management group to handle the situation. The group is headed by Sushma Swaraj and Intelligence Bureau, RAW and NSA chiefs are part of the group.
A total of 25 Indian officials are now deployed in four Iraqi cities – Baghdad, Najaf, Basra and Karbala – to oversee the rescue of stranded Indians.
MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin yesterday said that so far about 900 Indians had been provided air ticket to leave Iraq.
A total of 1,500 Indians were registered with Indian authorities to leave Iraq.
Some Indians working in Iraq had not decided whether they want to leave or not. “We are committed to helping every Indian national,” the spokesman said.
The plight of Indians stranded and held captive in Iraq since the Sunni insurgents started seizing Iraqi territory has emerged as the first major crisis for the Narendra Modi government.