A team of volunteers from the International Red Crescent Society on Monday visited jihadist-held Tikrit in central Iraq to ensure safety of the 44 Indian nurses working in hospitals of the city.
Diplomats in the Indian Embassy in Baghdad are also in touch with the nurses in Tikrit, even as New Delhi explores options to evacuate them along with 41 other Indians — mostly construction workers — from the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, which too has fallen to militants of an Al-Qaeda offshoot.
India on Monday also expressed deep concern over the deteriorating security situation in Iraq, resulting out of recent attacks and the fall of Mosul, Tikrit and some other cities to terrorist outfits since June 8 last.
New Delhi termed it as a “direct threat to the security and territorial integrity of Iraq”. “The government of India strongly condemns such attacks and firmly stands by the government and the people of Iraq in their fight against international terrorism and in their efforts to preserve the unity and territorial integrity of the friendly country of Iraq,” the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.
According to sources in New Delhi, the volunteers of the International Red Crescent Society met the Indian nurses in Tikrit following a request from the Embassy of India in Baghdad.
They found that the nurses were safe and reported the same to the embassy, added sources. Nearly 1,000 nurses were recently recruited from India by the Iraqi government. The nurses are mostly from Kerala.