The battle rages outside Tikrit Teaching Hospital compound in Tikrit in Iraq. Inside their "hellhole" in the compound, 46 Indian nurses, all of them from Kerala, are scared of the approaching night, when Iraqi government helicopter gunships will start strafing and bombing rebel positions. The nurses refute MEA claims that the hospital compound was hit by bombs on the nights of Friday and Saturday.
Sunday morning, after a second harrowing night of cowering in their hellhole, listening to sounds of war, the nurses were so unnerved, one of them called up a friend in the UAE who narrated their plight to dna. The friend/source says he talks to the nurses at least five to six times a day, and that they reach out to him as he is "now almost one of them".
"They are very frightened. They have heard of China airlifting its citizens from Tikrit, and ask why India cannot. They have video evidence to show that the compound was bombed, that debris flew right into the room where they are holed. They have been instructed by the ICRC to keep windows open in case of bombs going off nearby that may shatter window panes and flying glass shards could hurt them," the source told dna. "Friday night a bomb hit the emergency block of the hospital compound. Saturday night, a bomb landed so close to where the nurses are trapped, the entire building shook. One of the nurses suffered a seizure, she went into fits, and another two went into shock."
He said the nurses have been told by the Indian embassy not to speak to the Indian media. "An embassy official spoke to each one of them and asked them not to speak to the media as that will betray their location and put them in danger. The nurses said can they be in any bigger danger than what they are in now, at present."
Suresh Reddy, former Indian ambassador to Iraq with supposedly excellent rapport with key figures in the Sunni tribes of Iraq, has been specially sent to secure the safe release of 39 Indians held in captivity in Mosul by the Isil. Those Indians remain in captivity. On Saturday another old Indian hand in Iraq, Mattan George, flew into Baghdad, sent there to help bring the nurses and other Indians stuck in Tikrit.