India believes its 39 workers abducted in Iraq nearly 6 months ago still alive

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The Indian government believes 39 Indian citizens abducted nearly six months ago by the Islamic State group near the Iraqi town of Mosul are alive.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj says efforts are continuing to locate them in the absence of any direct contact with them.

She told India's parliament on Friday that information from friendly governments and organizations working in the region suggests that the militants have not killed the Indians. They were working for a Turkish construction company when they were seized in June.

There are about 10,000 Indian citizens working and living in Iraq, but only a small number are in violent, insecure areas.