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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2647

India brings back 46 nurses from Tikrit

By Malladi Rama Rao
New Delhi, 05July (Asiantribune.com)

A special flight of Air India, the national carrier brought home today 46 Kerala nurses who had been briefly held hostage by the ISIS militants as they were working at a 600-bed hospital at Tikrit more than a week ago.

Officials of the foreign ministry are tight-lipped on how these nurses have been rescued since they are engaged still in back channels of all hues but from available indications it appears that both Saudi Arabia and Indian businessmen with interests in the area have helped in the rescue mission to the great relief of Modi government in Delhi and Oomen Chandy government in Thiruvananthapuram.

As the plane that took off from Erbil in Kurdistan landed at Kochi around 12 noon, the chief minister Chandy was at the tarmac to receive the returning nurses amidst scenes of jubilation.

He attributed the success in rescue operation against all odds to what he called “collective efforts" of the Union and state governments - a reference to External Affairs Minister Sushman Swaraj with whom he worked closely during the entire operation right from the planning stage.

"We mainly focussed on ensuring safety and security of the stranded nurses (in Iraq). We are happy that they returned safe", Chandy said.

On their part, the nurses spoke of their experience in Iraq which they described as traumatic over the past fortnight when they were huddled into the basement of the hospital where they worked.

"We will never go back to Iraq for work"said they in unison but did not throw much light either on their conditions or the rescue mission. They however stated that they were not harmed. NORKA (Non Resident Keralites Affairs) authorities handed over Rs 5,000 to each nurse to meet travel expenses from airport to their native place. They had also arranged taxis for them.

The Special Flight also brought home some 134 Indans from Iraq. Of them 80 were dropped in Hyderabad; the remaining fifty got down in Delhi.

The expectation is that some 600 more Indians will be returning from Iraq in the next two days. At least 200 of them will travel by an Iraqi Airways special flight to Delhi. Another 400 Indian nationals would be returning to Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad through commercial flights by Monday, according to Foreign Office spokesman, Syed Akbaruddin.

He added that the Indian Mission has successfully persuaded Iraqi companies to send back about 600 other Indians. . This signals that momentum has gathered in the return of Indians from Iraq.

- Asian Tribune -

Nurses waiting to board flight to India
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