This was a scenario the families of the 46 nurses stranded in Tikrit hoped never to encounter.

“By 2.30 p.m. she called us and said they were being evacuated,” P.T. Jose, whose daughter Mareena Jose is one of the nurses taken hostage by the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) fighters from Tikrit on Thursday, said.

Hostel bombed

The hostel they were staying in was bombed the moment they were moved out, he said.

Shoba Shashikumar, whose daughter Shruthy was among the 46 nurses, said she too received a call around 2.30 p.m. on Thursday. The nurses had been under pressure from the rebels, who had occupied the ground floor of the building nearly two weeks ago, to move out of the building.

“They came by noon and told our children that they would give them 10 minutes to get into the vehicle,” she said. The rebels had also confiscated the mobile phones of the nurses, she said.

A relative of Subin, a nurse from Kainakari in Alappuzha and has been taken hostage, said all the 46 nurses at the Tikrit hospital had to obey the rebels’ ultimatum.

“The moment they came out of the hostel building, it was demolished, probably by the rebels themselves,” he said. “At least, this is what we understand,” he said.

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