Nurses who were stranded in the territory held by Islamic extremists in Iraq, being received by relatives upon arrival at the airport in Kochi. (PTI Photo)
Two hundred Indians landed in Delhi from Najaf in trouble-torn Iraq on a special chartered flight of Iraq Airways early on Sunday.
The flight, chartered by the external affairs ministry (MEA), landed at around 0430 hours in the morning carrying the passengers.
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In the next 48 hours, another batch of nearly 400 Indians will return to the country from Iraq.
"The return of Indians from Iraq has gathered pace," MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin had said on Saturday, as 46 Indian nurses briefly held hostage by Sunni Arab militants arrived to an emotional welcome in Kochi.
"In the next 48 hours, approximately another 400 Indian nationals would be returning to various destinations in India, including Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad, through commercial flights."
Indian nurses who were set free from Iraq are seen arriving at Kochi airport. (Photo credit: Doordarshan News)
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The MEA had also said it was estimated that about 1,200 Indians would have returned to the country at the government's cost by Monday.
There were about 10,000 Indians in Iraq before the start of the war between government troops and al Qaeda splinter group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). With the MEA facilitating the rescue operations, an estimated 7,500 Indians in the non-conflict zones have been evacuated.
Fifty Indians, including 39 construction workers held captive in Mosul, are still feared to be trapped in the conflict zones.
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(With inputs from agencies)