29 Indians rescued from Libya, arrive at Kochi airport

  • Agencies, New Delhi
  • Updated: May 12, 2016 11:33 IST
Several of those evacuated were working in Zawiya Hospital in Libya’s Sabratha city. (ANI)

Twenty nine Indians, rescued from strife-torn Libya, landed in the Kochi international airport on Thursday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had promised their safe return on Wednesday in a Kerala BJP rally at Tripunithura, a suburb in Kochi.

“I have some good news for you. Six families from Kerala and three Tamil Nadu residents, who were stranded in Libya, will return home safely tomorrow or day after. In total 29 persons have been rescued,” he said.

Several of those evacuated were working in Zawiya Hospital in Libya’s Sabratha city.

After the death of a Kerala nurse and her son in shelling at their house in Sabratha in March, relatives of Keralites working in Libya had been demanding their quick evacuation.

IS wrecks havoc in Libya

Islamic State controls a strip of more than 250 km (155 miles) of Libya’s central coastline, from which it launches regular attacks to the east, west and south.

IS took advantage of the political turmoil and security vacuum after the uprising that overthrew Muammar Gaddafi five years ago to build a power base in Libya.   

Over the last week it has made gains, carrying out suicide attacks in the sparsely populated area between Sirte and Misrata, including at a major checkpoint at Abu Grain.

Brigadier General Mohamed al-Gasri, spokesman for a newly formed military operations room in Misrata, confirmed that Islamic State took several villages in the area and that the line of defence was now at Assdada, about 80 km south of Misrata. The militants have dug trenches and planted mines around the Abu Grain checkpoint, he said.

Clashes erupted again late on Wednesday at Assdada, with one member of the security forces killed and 10 wounded, Misrata hospital spokesman Aziz Issa said. Thirteen members of the security forces were killed and 110 wounded in last week’s fighting, said Gasri.

The eastern military has made some advances against its armed opponents, including fighters loyal to Islamic State, in Benghazi, Libya’s second city.

Late on Monday Islamic State said it had executed three men captured during fighting in Benghazi last month.

A hospital spokesman in Benghazi said two of those killed - including one who was beheaded - were volunteer nurses who had been helping treat wounded troops.

(with inputs from PTI, IANS, Reuters)

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