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The Latest: Iraqi PM Says Fate of Indian Workers Unknown

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Saturday, 16 Sep 2017 01:38 PM

BAGHDAD (AP) — The Latest from the AP's exclusive interview with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi (all times local):

8:10 p.m.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi says the fate of 39 Indians captured by the Islamic State group when the extremists initially overran Mosul three years ago is still unknown.

Al-Abadi says the situation is "still under investigation at the moment. I cannot comment any further," in an exclusive interview with The Associated Press on Saturday.

Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj had told relatives of the workers in July that they might be held in a prison in Badush, northwest of Mosul, which Iraqi forces have taken back from IS.

The abducted workers, mostly from northern India, had been employed by an Iraqi construction company. Thousands of Indians worked and lived in Iraq before IS swept across the country's north and west in 2014.

Iraqi forces declared victory over IS in Mosul in July after a grueling nine-month fight.

7:30 p.m.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi says Turkish nationals make up half of the more than 1,300 women and children being held in a camp near Mosul for suspected links to the Islamic State group.

In an exclusive interview with The Associated Press on Saturday, al-Abadi says many of those detained are not guilty of any crime and his government is "in full communication" with their home counties "to try and find a way to hand them over."

So far, al-Abadi said, Iraq only has repatriated fewer than 100 people.

Iraqi forces are holding hundreds of IS families at a camp for displaced people in northern Iraq after they surrendered to Kurdish forces at the end of August. That's when an Iraqi offensive drove the extremist group from the northern town of Tal Afar, near Mosul.

6 p.m.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi says he's prepared to intervene militarily if the Kurdish region's planned independence referendum results in violence.

In an exclusive interview with The Associated Press on Saturday, Al-Abadi says if the Iraqi population is "threatened by the use of force outside the law, then we will intervene militarily."

Al-Abadi called the vote "a dangerous escalation" that will invite violations of Iraq's sovereignty.

Iraq's Kurdish region plans to hold the referendum on support for independence from Iraq on Sept. 25 in three governorates that make up their autonomous region, and in disputed areas controlled by Kurdish forces but claimed by Baghdad.

Iraq's Kurds have come under increasing pressure to call off the vote from regional powers and the United States, a key ally.

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The Latest from the AP's exclusive interview with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi (all times local):8:10 p.m.Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi says the fate of 39 Indians captured by the Islamic State group when the extremists initially overran Mosul three years ago...
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Saturday, 16 Sep 2017 01:38 PM
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