39 missing Indians killed in Iraq: Most were shot in the head, says Iraqi official

Manjinder Singh was among 39 Indians killed in Iraq by the Islamic State. Photograph:( ANI )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Mar 22, 2018, 04.29 AM (IST)

Most of the 39 Indians killed in Iraq were shot in the head, news reports quoted an Iraqi official as saying on Thursday. 

The bodies of the 39 Indians, most of them from Punjab, were recovered from a mound in Badush village near Mosul. India's External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had on Wednesday informed Parliament about the deaths of the 39 Indians. 

News reports Thursday said Iraq's Department of Forensic Medicine, part of the Ministry of Health, had conducted DNA tests on the bodies. The reports quoted a Dr Zaid Ali Abbas, the head of the department, as saying over the phone from Baghdad that "most of the bodies had gunshot wounds on the head". 

Abbas added that the 39 Indians had died over a year ago. And that when the remains arrived, they were only skeleton and bone. "They had no muscle or tissue." 

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The 39 Indians were kidnapped in 2014. On Wednesday Swaraj said they had been killed by ISIS. 

Minister of State for External Affairs General (retd) VK Singh has flown to Mosul to bring back the bodies. 

The government has come under much flak for its handling of the case. The families of the 39 killed have said they heard about the deaths when Swaraj made her speech in Parliament, and that they were not told beforehand

The opposition meanwhile has said the government knew about the deaths beforehand but had been misleading the public.