NEW DELHI (AP) — An official says dozens of Indian nurses who have been stranded at an Iraqi hospital are safe, but are being moved to a new area controlled by Islamic militants.

More than 40 nurses have been holed up for more than a week in Tikrit, where militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant have taken over.

Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said Thursday that the nurses are unharmed but are being moved to a new area under the extremist group’s control. He would not say who was moving the medical workers.

He described the situation as one of “grave difficulty” because the area is not under the control of the Iraqi army and is not accessible to humanitarian organizations.

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