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11 Malayali nurses evacuated from Iraq's Kirkuk

11 Malayali nurses evacuated from Iraqs Kirkuk

New Delhi: Eleven Indian nurses, hailing from Kerala, have been evacuated from conflict-hit Kirkuk in Iraq and are waiting to fly back home, the government said Thursday.

External affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin, addressing a briefing, said that the 11 nurses have been "evacuated safely" and are in Irbil, the capital of Kurdistan Region in Iraq.

"We are working on the arrangements for their return.. They will return to Kerala at the earliest,a he said, adding that External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has spoken to Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy to convey that the nurses are returning.

On the status of the 40 Indian men who were abducted in violence-hit Mosul in June last year and who remain untraceable, the spokesperson said efforts to trace them continue but the "situation is unclear".

Sushma Swaraj said in December in parliament that the government "does not have concrete proof" of the men being alive or dead and is continuing to search for them based on "six indirect sources".

"I have said repeatedly that I do not have concrete proof of them being alive, but I do not have concrete proof of their being dead too," she has said,The 40 men, mostly from Punjab, were abducted by the Islamic State militants from Mosul on June 15.

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