In a gruesome act, three Indian and eleven Pakistani pilgrims were shot dead by insurgents in Iraq while they were on their way to the Shiite holy city of Karbala, about 80 km from Baghdad.
Unidentified gunmen freed the women and children before killing the men in "execution-style", reports reaching here from Baghdad said.
Identifying the three as Jaffer Mashadi of Vishakhapatnam, M Beigh and Mohammad Ahmad Ali, both hailing from Hydereabad, Minister of State for External Affairs E Ahamed said that they were part of a group of 40 pilgrims from India and Pakistan.
Eleven Pakistanis and three Indians were shot "execution- style" by Iraqi insurgents, international news agencies quoting officials from Baghdad reported today.
They were shot on Friday as they headed for Karbala in a bus, the officials said.
Citing information received from the Indian Mission in Baghdad, Ahamed said that armed men intercepted the pilgrims' vehicle on August 31, segregated male members of the group and whisked them away.
Quoting information received from Indian Charge d'Affaires in Baghdad Kedar Singh, the minister said the bodies of the three Indians were lying in a Karbala hospital.
The wives of the two deceased and mother-in-law of one were also part of the group, Ahamed said, adding that the relatives have given permission to the Indian mission to conduct the last rites of the dead in Karbala.
The group had entered Iraq through Syria and it was arranged by a travel agent.