"Answering a question about 39 Indians in captivity in Mosul, Akbaruddin said they were unharmed."
New Delhi, July 2 - The government Wednesday said the 46 Indian nurses trapped in a building in Iraq's war-torn Tikrit town were safe and unharmed, and the Indian envoy has spoken with them.
Our ambassador (in Iraq) has talked to them. They are unharmed, safe, external affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said here.
He said the facilitation phase to help Indian nationals wanting to return from Iraq was proceeding satisfactorily.
We have provided tickets to approximately 530 Indian nationals, their seats have been booked on commercial flights. In addition, we are processing the documentation of another 850. In terms of passports being processed in different locations in Iraq, the largest numbers are from Najaf, he said.
Akbaruddin said there were 350 passports that were being processed for Indian nationals from Najaf, 290 from Karbala, 190 from Basra and the remaining from Baghdad.
In Baghdad, there is no backlog because we have an embassy there. Seats continue to be available on commercial flights, so we are making use of commercial flights to fly back Indian nationals to their nearest international airports, he said.
Asked about reports that the building which houses the nurses was being guarded by gunmen of the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), Akbaruddin said he would not comment on what others had put out.
Asked about reports that India was among jihad targets of the ISIS, he said: India's safety and security is in safe hands.
Answering a question about 39 Indians in captivity in Mosul, Akbaruddin said they were unharmed.
The government Tuesday said there was bombing and firing in the vicinity of the building which housed the 46 nurses and they had taken refuge in the basement.