Authorities in Iraq announced on Monday (18 September) that they are set to deport nearly 500 wives of foreign Isis fighters, who had illegally entered the country over the past three years to join the Islamist militant group.

The women have been recently moved to a detention centre in Mosul from a camp located 60km south of Mosul city, where Iraqi authorities are still holding nearly 800 children of Isis militants.

In August, many Isis fighters and their families had surrendered to the Kurdish peshmerga forces in Tal Afar. The Kurdish forces took the men captive and handed over nearly 1,400 women and children to Iraqi authorities, who were trying to verify their nationalities.

A senior Iraqi security official told AFP news agency on Monday that the 509 women and 813 children belonged to 13 different nationalities from Europe, Asia and the Americas. Around 300 of them were from Turkey, while the others were found to be from countries like Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Russia, France and Germany.

"They are foreigners who entered the country illegally," a minister told AFP. "Legal measures must be taken against them because, when they were detained, they were in an area controlled by terrorists."

Councillor of Nineveh province where Mosul is located said that Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi had ordered the transfer of the women to the detention centre and the move "could be part of preparations for their departure to their countries of origin".

Mosul was an Isis stronghold in the Nineveh province until July when Iraqi forces, backed by a US-led coalition group, drove out the militants and freed the city. The whole of Nineveh province was declared liberated in August.