ANKARA, June 19 (Xinhua) -- A group of 44 foreign nationals, including four Turkish citizens, who were kidnapped on Tuesday by tribal groups in northern Iraq, have been released, a Turkish diplomat said on Thursday.
Deputy security chief of Kirkuk in northern Iraq provided help for the release of the foreign workers, the diplomat told Xinhua on condition of anonymity. "They are traveling to a secure place today."
On Tuesday, a group of armed militants of the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIL) raided a construction site of a hospital near Kirkuk in northern Iraq and kidnapped about 60 foreign workers, including 15 Turkish workers, a released hostage was quoted as saying, adding that the kidnapped foreign workers also included Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Nepal and Turkmenistan nationals.
On Thursday, Turkey's Foreign Ministry urged its citizens in Iraq to leave the country immediately after militants abducted some 80 Turkish citizens in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, capital of Nineveh province.
Last Wednesday, a group of ISIL militants took control of Turkey's consulate general in Mosul, and abducted 49 staff and family members, including the consul-general. Another 31 Turkish nationals were also taken hostage by the group at a power plant in the Gyarah region of Mosul.
Rescue efforts are still underway.