NEW DELHI: The 39 Indians taken hostage by ISIS more than one-and-a-half-years ago from Mosul in Iraq were alive, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj told their families here today, based on her recent meetings with Arab and Palestinian leaders who indicated to this effect.
Swaraj, who had sought a meeting with the families which is the ninth since the abduction of these Indians in June 2014, also assured them that the government was "fully and continuously engaged" and "every possible effort" was being made to ensure their release.
According to official sources, the minister told them that during a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the leader informed her that the "Indians are alive and made to work" in war-torn Iraq as per his government's intelligence information. Swaraj had travelled to Palestine and Israel on January 17 and 18.
The minister also referred to her visit to Bahrain on January 23 for the first India-Arab League Cooperation Forum and said during the meeting, a declaration was adopted which said, "The two sides expressed concern at the kidnapping of 39 Indian workers in Mosul in Iraq in June 2014 and 3 Indian workers in Sirte in Libya in June 2015.
"The Arab side expressed full solidarity with India in all efforts for their early release from captivity."
The Indians were kidnapped by Islamic militant group ISIS from a construction site in Mosul.