His spokesman said Ban strongly condemned the seizure of the Turkish consulate in Mosul by extremist groups, and the abduction of the consul general, several staff and other Turkish citizens on Wednesday.

“Ban recalls the fundamental principle of the inviolability of consular premises and calls for the immediate, unconditional and safe release of those abducted," the spokesman added.

"The secretary-general calls on the international community to send a clear message that terrorist acts are unacceptable and those responsible must be held to account."

Turkey has pledged to retaliate if the hostages are harmed, saying the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant kidnapped 49 of its citizens at the consulate and took them to another part of Mosul.

(Agencies)

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