39 Indians abducted by IS in Iraq are dead: Minister

All the 39 Indians abducted by Islamic State in Iraq’s Mosul in 2014 were dead, External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj told the Rajya Sabha on Monday, dashing hopes of families that were desperately hoping for their safe return.

The bodies were exhumed from a mass grave and sent to Baghdad for DNA tests, the minister said.

“On Monday, we got information that DNA samples of 38 people have matched and DNA of the 39th person has matched 70 per cent,” Sushma said.

Harjit Masih, the only Indian to escape the abductors, had claimed that the others in the group were gunned down on June 15, 2014.

The group of 40 men, most of them construction workers, were snatched from war-ravaged Mosul, the northern Iraqi city which was once a stronghold of Islamic State.