June 19, 2014 / 2:25 PM / 5 years ago

Dozens of foreigners freed in Iraq's Kirkuk: Turkish official

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - A group of 44 foreign nationals including four Turkish citizens seized on Wednesday by tribal groups in the Iraqi oil hub of Kirkuk have been released, a Turkish foreign ministry official said on Thursday.

Ethnic Turkmens in the region helped secure the release of the group, which included Asian workers and engineers, without the need for a military operation, the official said. He did not have details of the nationalities involved.

Separately, Sunni insurgents have been holding 80 Turks including soldiers, diplomats and children for more than week in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.

The Turkish government has said they are unharmed and efforts are under way to secure their release.

An array of armed Sunni groups, spearheaded by militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), have seized parts of Iraq in a lightning offensive, threatening the fragmentation of the country.

Reporting by Tulay Karadeniz; Writing by Humeyra Pamuk; Editing by Nick Tattersall

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