Authorities announced Friday that 46 Indian nuns stranded in Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) territory will return home on a secure aircraft.
The women were trapped in a hospital in Tikrit for over a week before being moved to Mosul – a city that fell to the ISIS terrorist group weeks ago. The Indian government said they would leave "no stone unturned" to bring any Indians stranded in Iraq home.
"The 46 nurses will move to Erbil tonight," Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said in a press conference.
"As we talk now, an Air India plane has taken off. It is expected to reach tonight. A joint secretary level officer is there on the flight.
"Hopefully, we will bring them back tomorrow."
The governor of Erbil, Iraq said that they are working with Indian officials to secure the women's safety.
"We are waiting for the arrival of the nurses from Mosul in coordination with the Indian ambassador," Nawaz Shadi said, according to the Associated Press. "The checkpoints and the security forces are waiting for their arrival in Erbil and then for them to return to their country."
Five of the women suffered minor injuries from a nearby blast, but were otherwise unharmed during their ISIS captivity, the Asian Age reported.
In addition to the nurses, 70 other Keralan women will be brought back home on the government aircraft. Details of the extraction have not been released to the public.
"Anything we say may possibly impact other elements (of the rescue operation in Iraq)," Akbaruddin said. "So, I will not say who we worked with and how we worked."
It has been reported that influential Indians living in the Gulf persuaded ISIS authorities to release the women, and that the External Affairs minister, Sushma Swaraj, also sought help from Gulf politicians to facilitate the rescue.