Militants free 32 Turkish truck drivers seized in Iraq

Photo: Militants free 32 Turkish truck drivers seized in Iraq
 / Turkey

Islamist militants have freed 32 Turkish truck drivers they seized in northern Iraq last month, the private Dogan news agency and other Turkish media reported on Thursday, but officials could not immediately confirm their release.

A Turkish Foreign Ministry official told Reuters there were "positive developments" concerning the truck drivers but did not give further information.

There was no word on 49 other Turks, including special forces soldiers, diplomats and children, who were also seized in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul by militants of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) on June 11.

Truck drivers, contacted by telephone, told Turkish broadcasters they were being escorted by ISIL fighters to Iraq's Kurdish region to be handed over to the authorities there.

"We are not totally free yet. There are ISIL militants around us. Our health condition is not that great, but we have no friends who need emergency medical action," truck driver Mustafa Tezdoner told broadcaster NTV.

The seizure of the Turks in Iraq has prompted criticism of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's government for failing to foresee the danger and to evacuate the Mosul consulate sooner.

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