Turkish drivers expect to be released by ISIL

Turkish drivers expect to be released by ISIL

Turkish drivers expect to be released by ISIL

A picture taken with a mobile phone shows a vehicle ablaze on a road in Hawijah, west of Kirkuk, in northern Iraq on June 11, 2014. Jihadists seized all of Mosul and Nineveh province, long a militant stronghold and one of the most dangerous areas in the country, and also took areas in Kirkuk province, to its east, and Salaheddin to the south. AFP PHOTO/STR

One of the 31 Turkish truck drivers taken hostage by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in northern Iraq on June 10 has told daily Hürriyet that they expect to be released soon.

Speaking to Hürriyet on the phone on the evening of June 11, on condition of anonymity due to security concerns, the man said 21 drivers were being held at a thermal power plant, while 11 others had been transferred to another location while handcuffed.

An ISIL militant told the hostages “to be prepared” and “not to make any move as they would be released in an hour,” according to the driver. “Inşallah [God willing] they will hold their promise,” he said.

The driver added that the ISIL militants had attacked the power plant on the morning of June 10 with automatic weapons when they were unloading oil carried from Turkey. “Some of us tried to hide in the tankers,” the driver said, adding that around 60 militants were still in the power plant.

The ISIL members also phoned the Gaziantep-based company where the truck drivers work, demanding ransom money of $5 million. The company then decided to contact the Turkish Foreign Ministry.