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India condemns attacks, takeover of Iraq cities by terrorists

New Delhi: India on Monday voiced its strongly condemnation of attacks by terrorist outfits in Iraq, saying that the takeover of cities such as Mosul and Tikrit was a direct threat to security and territorial integrity of the West Asian country.

In a statement, the external affairs ministry expressed its deep concern over the "deteriorating security situation" in Iraq resulting from recent attacks and taking over of some cities by terrorist outfits since June 8.

The statement said that safety and security of the Indian nationals in Iraq remains a matter of serious concern for the government.

External affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said in a tweet that India's mission in Iraq was in touch with Indian nurses stranded in Tikrit.

The Indian embassy in Iraq Asaid that the nurses stranded in Tikrit - the town seized by the fighters from Al Qaeda influenced Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) last week, were completely safe.

"The International Red Crescent Society volunteers visited the 46 Indian nurses that were stranded in a hospital they were working in since last week," India's Ambassador A. Ajay Kumar told IANS from Baghdad.

In all, there are 46 Indian nurses stranded in Tikrit, most of them from Kerala, and 41 construction workers are in Mosul, the embassy said.

The official statement said that India remained strongly committed to the emergence of a stable, peaceful, united and democratic Iraq which is in the interest of regional and global peace and security.

"The government of India strongly condemns such attacks and firmly stands by the government and the people of Iraq in their fight against international terrorism and in their efforts to preserve the unity and territorial integrity of the friendly country of Iraq," it said.

It said that the government has issued an advisory giving details of a 24-hour helpline set up by the Indian embassy in Baghdad for assistance of Indian nationals there.

The security deterioration in Iraq started last week when bloody clashes broke out between the Iraqi security forces and hundreds of gunmen who took control of several neighbourhoods in western part of Mosul and expanded later to other areas and provinces after the Iraqi security forces withdrew from the city.

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