Tue, Apr 03, 2018 - Page 6 News List

Bodies of Indians executed by IS in Iraq flown home

AP, BAGHDAD

The remains of 38 Indian construction workers captured and killed by the Islamic State (IS) group in northern Iraq were on Sunday handed over to Indian authorities in Baghdad.

The bodies had been taken to Baghdad International Airport and would be flown back on a military flight, and would arrive in India yesterday, Indian Ambassador to Iraq Pradeep Singh Rajpurohit said.

Indian Minister of State for External Affairs Vijay Kumar Singh saluted the remains at the airport as workers loaded the caskets on the aircraft.

“We are against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations,” he told reporters, describing the IS as “very cruel terrorist organization, and our people have fallen to their bullets.”

The extremists abducted and killed the workers shortly after seizing the northern city of Mosul in the summer of 2014.

Iraqi authorities discovered the remains in a mass grave last year after retaking Mosul, and identified the bodies last month.

The militants initially abducted 40 workers. One managed to escape, while the presumed remains of another have yet to be positively identified. Authorities are awaiting DNA samples from a first-degree relative.

The workers, most from northern India, had been employed by a construction company operating near Mosul.

About 10,000 Indians lived and worked in Iraq at the time.

The IS might have viewed the workers as polytheists deserving of death because of their Hindu or Sikh faith.

The IS swept across northern and central Iraq in 2014, eventually seizing a third of the country.

Iraqi forces backed by a US-led coalition eventually drove the IS from all the territory under its control in a three-year campaign.

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