New Delhi: Thirty-nine Indians kidnapped by the Islamic State in Iraq's Mosul in 2014 are dead, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said on Tuesday.
The minister told the Rajya Sabha that their bodies were spotted using deep penetration radar. The bodies were exhumed from mass graves and their identities confirmed by DNA tests, she said.
"The bodies were sent to Baghdad for DNA testing. The DNA of 38 Indians have been matched," she said.
All of them were construction workers, mostly from Punjab, and were employed by an Iraqi company in Mosul.
They were taken hostage by Islamic State militants when they took control of the second largest city in Iraq in 2014. The workers were trying to leave Mosul when they were held hostage.
Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh visited Iraq, days after Mosul was liberated by Iraqi forces from the rule of Islamic State.