New Delhi, Mar 20: Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday said that the 39 Indians, who had been kidnapped by ISIS in Mosul in June 2014, were killed by the terror outfit. “We wanted to give the families closure only after getting concrete proof,” she said. Swaraj added that the government on Monday received the confirmation that the DNAs of 38 of the missing Indians matched with the bodies found underneath a mass grave.

“It (the killing) was a “heinous crime carried out by Daesh terrorist gangs,” Iraqi official Najiha Abdul-Amir al-Shimari told reporters. He added that the “bodies were of citizens of the friendly Indian state. Their dignity was supposed to be protected, but the forces of evil wanted to defame the principles of Islam.” (Also Read: Sushma Swaraj Slams ‘Insensitive’ Congress For Lok Sabha Disruption)

Harjit Masih, the only Indian to have escaped the ISIS, and 39 others were abducted on June 11, 2014, when they were trying to escape ISIS siege on Mosul. The men, Masih claimed, were abducted from a factory and shifted to an unknown location in Iraq. Narrating the incident, Masih said that the ISIS militants made all the Indians sit on their knees and opened fire. (Also Read: I Told The Truth That 39 Indians Were Killed, Says Mosul Survivor)

Their bodies were buried near the village of Badush, an area recaptured by Iraqi forces last year. (Also Read: Who is Harjit Masih? How The Mosul Survivor Escaped ISIS?)

Informing the Rajya Sabha about how the bodies were located underneath a mass grave, Sushma Swaraj said, “We used a deep penetration satellite to see a mass grave… We requested that the bodies be brought out, exhumed. It was a difficult task to get proof…there were mass graves. It was a pile of bodies. To track down the bodies of our people and to take them to Baghdad for DNA tests was a huge task.”

The minister added that DNA of one of the Indians is yet to be confirmed. In July 2017, Sushma Swaraj had said that she will not declare the 39 men dead without any confirmation. “It is a sin to declare a person dead without concrete evidence. I will not do this sin,” she had said. (Also Read: Families in mourning after getting the news of loved ones’ death)

The 39 Indians were employed at a construction company near Mosul. Relatives of some of the kidnapped Indians claimed that they had received phone calls from the men five days after Mosul was captured by ISIS. The men had asked for help, the families claimed.

“General VK Singh will go to Iraq to bring back mortal remains of Indians killed in Iraq. The plane carrying mortal remains will first go to Amritsar, then to Patna and then to Kolkata,” Sushma Swaraj said.