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President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday expressed relief and happiness over the news that 46 Indian nurses have reached a secure area in Iraq, on their way back to the country.
"I am happy and relieved that 46 nurses from Tikrit have reached a secure area in Iraq. I look forward to their early and safe return to India," he said according to an official statement.
All 46 Indian women nurses seized by Sunni insurgents in Iraq were freed Friday after intense diplomatic efforts, and were set to return to Kerala Saturday morning.
In what appeared to be a sudden change of mind, the militants told the nurses Friday morning after breakfast that they should be ready to move to Erbil, the capital of Kurdistan, on their way home.
The nurses were in a hospital at Tikrit and were forced by the insurgents to move out Thursday and taken to Mosul town in Iraq.