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39 Indian hostages held by ISIL killed in Mosul: FM Swaraj says

Bodies of 39 Indians, who were abducted in 2014, have been identified after DNA matching, India's foreign minister says.

Thirty-nine missing Indian workers, who were taken hostage by ISIL in the Iraqi city of Mosul, have been killed, India's Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj said on Tuesday.

The minister told Rajya Sabha - the upper house of parliament - the government had received confirmation on Monday that the DNA of 38 bodies found in a mass grave had been definitively identified as matching the missing Indians.

The 39th body exhumed from the grave had only a 70 percent DNA match, the minister said.

The grave was found after Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) fighters were driven out of the Iraqi city.

"I have concrete proof that 39 Indians have been killed," Swaraj said about the Indians who were abducted by ISIL in 2014. "We wanted to give the families closure," she said.

The physical remains of the Indians will be repatriated by the government in a special aircraft, the minister told parliament.

One of the workers was able to escape ISIL custody, the minister said.

India's foreign ministry spokesperson had confirmed in June 2014 that 40 Indian workers of the Tariq Nur Al Huda company in Mosul were kidnapped when ISIL captured Mosul and large parts of Iraq.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared "total victory" over ISIL in July last year after nearly three years of war backed by the US-led coalition.


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