Government confirms 39 Indians killed in Iraq by IS

Close to four years after 39 Indian workers went missing in Iraq, the government announced that the men were dead after their bodies were recovered from a hillock near Badush, not far from Mosul, and DNA tests had confirmed their identities.

Foreign minister Sushma Swaraj made the announcement in a statement in the Rajya Sabha, saying DNA tests carried out by Iraq’s Martyrs Foundation had confirmed the identities of those killed. The men were feared to have been kidnapped by the Islamic State soon after Mosul fell to the terror group in June 2014.

The announcement was anticipated as the government, not having heard from any of the victims for months despite the liberation of Mosul in July 2017, had, in October last year, started collecting DNA samples of family members of the missing workers.

A lone survivor, Harjit Masih, who claimed to have played dead, had said that he saw other members of the group being killed. However, the government pursued leads from sources who it said had informed that the Indians were still alive.

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