All 39 Indian Hostages, Missing Since 2014, Killed By Islamic StateExternal Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj with the families of the workers earlier. (Raj K Raj/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj today informed the Rajya Sabha that the 39 Indians who went missing in Iraq in 2014 have been killed by the Islamic State (IS).

Swaraj informed the upper house that the DNA samples of the workers have matched with the remains found in mass graves around Mosul which confirms the deaths.

Minister of State for External Affairs, General VK Singh oversaw the tests on the bodies found from the mass graves and will be making arrangements to get the remains home.

40 Indian workers had been held hostage by the IS ever since 2014, when they overran Mosul where the workers were employed. Mosul the second largest city in Iraq, has only recently been liberated from the terrorist organisation and is now under the control of the Iraqi Army. Several mass graves have been discovered in and around the city after its liberation by the security forces.

The labourers were mostly from Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar and Bengal with one, Harjit Masih having managed to escape the IS. Harjit had then claimed that he saw the other workers being massacred by the IS but the government had dismissed his claims citing lack of proof.

However, now the deaths have been confirmed and the upper house observed a moment of silence following Swaraj’s announcement.

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