India says 39 workers abducted in Iraq in 2015 dead

An Iraqi boy stands at the entrance of a destroyed building in the old city of Mosul on March 14, 2018, eight months after the Iraqi government forces retook the city from the control of Daesh. (AFP/Ahmad Al-Rubaye)
Updated 21 March 2018
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India says 39 workers abducted in Iraq in 2015 dead

NEW DELHI: Iraqi authorities have found the bodies of 39 Indian workers who were abducted by militants from the Mosul area three years ago, India’s foreign minister said Tuesday.
The abducted workers, mostly from northern India, had been employed by a construction company near Mosul when militants overran the Iraqi city and seized wide swaths of territory. Relatives said they received phone calls from some of the workers five days after Mosul was captured in 2015 saying they needed help.
Around 10,000 Indians worked and lived in Iraq at that time
Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj told lawmakers in Parliament on Tuesday that the bodies were recently found buried in a mound of earth near Badush, a village northwest of Mosul that Iraqi forces had taken back from the Daesh group last July.
Search operations led to a mound in Badush where local residents said bodies had been buried by the Daesh group, Swaraj said.
Iraqi authorities used radar to establish that the mound was a mass grave, she said, and exhumed the bodies. Indian authorities then sent DNA samples of relatives of the missing workers.
Swaraj said Iraqi authorities informed the Indian government on Monday that DNA tests confirmed that 38 of them were the kidnapped workers. The DNA test for the remaining body has yet to be fully confirmed.


Israel locks down Ramallah after two soldiers shot dead

Updated 14 December 2018
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Israel locks down Ramallah after two soldiers shot dead

  • The bloodshed began when Israeli forces shot dead two Palestinians
  • Hours later, a Palestinian gunman killed two Israeli soldiers and wounded a third

AMMAN: Israel was accused on Thursday of humiliating Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas by placing Ramallah on virtual lockdown amid a 24-hour outbreak of violence in which five people died.

The bloodshed began when Israeli forces shot dead two Palestinians suspected of earlier attacks. Salah Barghouti, 29, was accused of shooting seven Israelis on Sunday at a bus station near the Ofra settlement. Ashraf Naalwa, 23, shot two Israelis dead in the Barkan industrial zone settlement in October.

Hours later, a Palestinian gunman killed two Israeli soldiers and wounded a third when he opened fire at the Ofra bus station.

Israeli forces chased the gunman into Ramallah, where they set up road blocks, launched raids and placed the town under virtual siege. In the hunt for the gunman, a Palestinian was shot dead in Al-Bireh neighborhood of Ramallah.

Abbas Zaki, a leading Fatah official, told Arab News Palestinian frustration was being fueled by Israel. “They barged into Ramallah in violation of existing agreements and came very close to the home of President Abbas.

“What more do people need to see to let them give up on a process when Israelis are willing to humiliate in such a way the father of Palestinian peace?”

Abbas himself condemned the anti-Israeli attacks but blamed Israeli raids as a potential cause.

“The climate created by the policy of repeated intrusions into the cities, the provocations against the sovereignty of the president and the lack of a horizon for peace are what led to this unacceptable violence that we condemn and reject,” he said.