World / Social Issues

Aid officials 'gravely concerned' over fate of Iraq-held wives, kids of Islamic State fighters


Aid officials in Iraq said they were “gravely concerned” about the fate of about 1,400 foreign wives and children of suspected Islamic State militants relocated by Iraqi authorities, who did not warn aid organizations.

The families had been held by Iraqi authorities since Aug. 30 in the Hammam al-Alil transit camp, south of Mosul.

“We are gravely concerned about these families,” said Melany Markham, spokeswoman for the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) in Iraq. The NRC is one of several aid groups that have provided humanitarian services to the families.

“We weren’t informed where the families would be taken to, and we don’t know if they will have access to assistance and protection,” Markham said. “They are a very vulnerable population.”

None of the aid groups, including the United Nations, was given advanced warning by Iraqi officials about the move, according to Markham.

The families were moved to Tal Keif, a town north of Mosul, an Iraqi police intelligence source confirmed. They are being housed in buildings, not at campsites, under the supervision of Iraqi police officers.

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