NATO calls for release of Turkish hostages in Iraq

Visiting NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen Monday called for immediate release of the 80 Turkish hostages abducted from northern Iraq.

IANS| Last Updated: Jun 16, 2014, 17:05 PM IST

Baghdad: Visiting NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen Monday called for immediate release of the 80 Turkish hostages abducted from northern Iraq.

"We want to see all of the Turkish hostages released and we want to see them safe," Xinhua quoted Rasmussen as saying at a joint press conference with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in Ankara.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) is following the dangerous developments in Iraq with concern, Rasmussen said, noting that he condemned the Islamic militants` attack against the Turkish consulate general in northern Iraqi city of Mosul, capital of Nineveh province.

A group of militants of the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIL) took control of the consulate general Wednesday, and abducted 49 staff and family members, including the consul-general.

The same militant group also took 31 Turkish nationals hostage in a power plant in the Gyarah region of Mosul, said the statement, adding that rescue efforts are currently underway.

The ISIL, commonly known as Al Qaeda in Iraq, seized Mosul, Iraq`s second largest city, and Tikrit, another provincial capital, respectively on Tuesday and Wednesday in its renewed clashes with government forces.