New Delhi. June 16: India today said it was concerned about the “deteriorating security situation” in Iraq and worried about its nationals trapped in cities that have been seized by extremist Sunni “terrorists” who broke away from the al Qaida earlier this year.
The statement is the first by India’s foreign office since armed militants of the Wahhabi-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and Syria seized over a quarter of Iraq’s territory in lightning strikes against government forces over the past week. The ISIS, as the group is known, has taken control of Mosul — Iraq’s second-largest city — and Tikrit, the hometown of former ruler Saddam Hussein.
The Telegraph was the first to report on June 15 about the Indians, estimated to be over 100, trapped in Mosul and Tikrit, including at least 44 nurses, and on India’s efforts to rescue them. “India’s mission is in touch with the nurses in Tikrit,” foreign office spokesperson and joint secretary Syed Akbaruddin tweeted today.
“India remains strongly committed to the emergence of a stable, peaceful, united and democratic Iraq, which is in the interest of regional and global peace and security,” the foreign office statement said.