Bodies of 38 Indian construction workers killed by ‘IS’ in Iraq flown home

A special plane carrying the coffins of 38 Indian construction workers killed by Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq four years ago arrived in the Indian city of Amritsar yesterday.

The victims were working for a construction company operating near Mosul when IS overran the city in the summer of 2014.
They were abducted and murdered by the extremists possibly because of their Sikh or Hindu faiths.

In all, 40 workers were kidnapped, but one escaped and the presumed remains of another have yet to be identified, report news agencies.

The 38 bodies were identified last month after they were discovered in a mass grave following the recapture of Mosul by Iraqi forces last year.

Indian Junior Defense Minister V.K. Singh was present on the repatriation flight.

Around 10,000 Indians were working in Iraq at the time of the surprise IS offensive in 2014, which saw the group capture approximately a third of Iraq’s territory. Most fled the country during the ensuing violence.

The Indian government officially confirmed the deaths of the 38 workers on 20 March.

According to reports, relatives of the victims had accused authorities of offering false hope, insisting the abductees were alive until proven otherwise.

Image: Oil fires set by retreating IS militants burn near Qayyarah, south of Mosul, Iraq (Wikimedia Commons)

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