44 foreign hostages released in Iraq

44 foreign hostages released in Iraq

A group of 44 foreign nationals, including four Turkish citizens, who were kidnapped Tuesday by tribal groups in northern Iraq, have been released, a Turkish diplomat said Thursday.

Deputy security chief of Kirkuk in northern Iraq provided help for the release of the foreign workers, the diplomat told Xinhua on condition of anonymity. "They are travelling to a secure place today."

On Tuesday, a group of armed militants of the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIL) raided a construction site of a  hospital near Kirkuk in northern Iraq and kidnapped about 60 foreign workers, including 15 Turkish workers, a released  hostage was quoted as saying, adding that the kidnapped foreign workers also included Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Nepal and Turkmenistan nationals.

On Thursday, Turkey's foreign ministry urged its citizens in Iraq to leave the country immediately after militants  abducted some 80 Turkish citizens in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, capital of Nineveh province.

Last Wednesday, a group of ISIL militants took control of Turkey's consulate general in Mosul, and abducted 49 staff and family members, including the consul general. Another 31 Turkish nationals were also taken hostage by the group  at a power plant in the Gyarah region of Mosul.

Also, a group of 40 Indians, who mostly belong to Amritsar, Batala, and Gurdaspur areas of Punjab, and were working as drivers, sanitary workers and construction labourers in Mosul, have been abducted in the strife-torn country. Rescue efforts are on to ensure their safe return.

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