NEW DELHI (AP) — News reports say more than 40 Indian nurses stranded in territory held by Islamic extremists in Iraq have returned home in southern India aboard a special flight.

At least 70 other Indians were also expected to have boarded the plane in Irbil, in Iraq’s largely autonomous Kurdish region. On Saturday, the plane landed in Kochi, in Kerala state, where the nurses are from.

The 46 nurses had been holed up for more than a week in Tikrit, where fighters of the Islamic State group have taken over. The nurses had been moved to a new area under the extremist group’s control, and finally crossed over into the Kurdish region late Friday.

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