Originally published on Sun July 6, 2014 7:21 am
More than 40 Indian nurses trapped since last month in the rebel-held city of Mosul have arrived back home.
According to The Associated Press, the Indian government organized an Air India plane to fly the nurses home from Irbil.
The AP says: "Outside the airport in Kochi [in India's southern state of Kerala], hundreds of friends and relatives of the women greeted them with hugs and flowers. The nurses all looked exhausted and emotional, with one hugging her young nephew tightly."
"The 46 nurses boarded a specially chartered plane for India from the city of Erbil, the Kurdish regional capital, early on Saturday, and arrived in the southern Indian state of Kerala before noon local time (0630 GMT), after a stopover at Mumbai for refueling.
"The Press Trust of India reported that Kerala chief minister Oommen Chandy met the nurses and their families at the city airport of Kochi.
"The nurses found themselves trapped while working in a state-run hospital in the northern city of Tikrit when armed rebels launched their lightning offensive last month.
"'We all are very happy ... We never thought we will come back, that we would come out,' nurse Marina Jose told NDTV news channel before leaving for India.
"'They didn't do anything, they didn't disturb us and they didn't harm anyone. They didn't touch even. They talked nicely,"' Jose said, without specifying who she was referring to."