Sep 20, 2014 12:49 AM

Turkey: 49 hostages have been freed

The Associated Press

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Saturday that 49 Turkish hostages who were seized by Islamic militants in Iraq have been freed and safely returned to Turkey.

The Turks, including diplomatic staff, were seized from the consulate on June 11, when the Islamic State group overran Mosul, Iraq and stormed the Turkish Consulate.

Davutoglu told Turkish reporters during a visit to Baku, Azerbaijan that the hostages were released early on Saturday and had arrived in Turkey. He was cutting his visit short to meet with the hostages in the province of Sanliurfa, near Turkey's border with Syria.

He did not provide details on the circumstances of their release.

"I am sharing a joyful news which as a nation we have been waiting for," Davutoglu said. "In the early hours our citizens were handed over to us and we brought them back to our country."

"They have crossed into Turkey and I am on my way to see them," Davutoglu said.


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