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Wednesday, 18 June 2014 | MYT 4:20 PM

Turkey checking reports more workers abducted by Iraq insurgents

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - The Turkish embassy in Baghdad is investigating news reports that a group of Turkish construction workers were among 60 people abducted by Islamist militants near the Iraqi city of Kirkuk, the foreign ministry said on Wednesday.

Militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) seized 15 Turks who were building a hospital near the town of Dour, located in Salahuddin province near the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, the Dogan news agency said, citing a worker who was freed along with other Sunni Muslims who were let go.

The reported abduction came a week after 80 other Turkish nationals were seized by insurgents in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, 49 of them from the Turkish consulate, including special forces soldiers, diplomats and children.

"The embassy in Baghdad is investigating the reports," a foreign ministry official said, declining to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue. He gave no further details.

It was not immediately clear when the abduction might have taken place.

The 100-bed hospital the workers were building in Dour was a Turkish-run project, Istanbul-based Dogan said. Those abducted also included workers from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Turkmenistan, the news agency reported.

ISIL and other Sunni militants have swept through towns in the Tigris valley north of Baghdad in recent days. Turkey evacuated its consulate in the southern city of Basra on Tuesday, citing an increased security risk.

Separately, the Indian government was unable to make contact with 40 Indian builders who may have been kidnapped in Mosul, according to a foreign ministry spokesman.

(Reporting by Ayla Jean Yackley in Istanbul and Tulay Karadeniz in Ankara; Editing by Nick Tattersall and Gareth Jones)


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