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NEW DELHI - Nearly 50 nurses have been taken against their will from a hospital in Iraq's militant-controlled city of Tikrit, India's Foreign Ministry said Thursday. The Indian nationals were forced to board buses, Foreign Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin told reporters. Asked if the nurses had been kidnapped, Akbaruddin said: "In zones of conflict there is no free will. This is a situation where lives are at stake."
A senior aide to Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, who spoke to the nurses on Thursday, told Reuters that "militants" had forced the nurses to vacate the hospital and board two buses. Tikrit, the birthplace of former President Saddam Hussein, has been the site of fierce fighting this week as Iraqi troops battle to regain control of the city from al Qaeda-inspired Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). Two weeks ago, 40 construction workers were kidnapped in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, and all but one of them remain in captivity.
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