Female jihadist geo-tracked from Canada to ISIS frontline
According to a new report from the Canada-based open source intelligence research group iBRABO, one woman – identified only as “L.A.” – traveled from Canada to the frontlines of Islamic State-controlled territory, giving away her locations with every tweet, as she visited besieged cities in Syria and Iraq.
Although ISIS is known to have many female sympathizers, this is the first time a woman has been tracked all the way from a Western country directly to the battlefield, where she appears to be actively engaged in Islamic State operations.
Tracking her cellphone’s geo-tagging function on Twitter, the group concluded that her movement “reflects a broader trend of women becoming more active in supporting male jihadists, such as intelligence collection, implementation and adherence to Sharia Law, and even reported execution of punishments to women judged to be in transgression of Sharia Law.”
The woman – now using an image of a gruesome ISIS beheading scene as her banner photo – was tweeting from Toronto up until November 23, 2014. She reappeared in early December, in the major ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, Syria.
She has traveled “across more ISIS controlled territory than any other ISIS account we have monitored,” the group said, pinpointing her locations throughout December and January in Mosul, Aleppo, and Kobani – all major ISIS battlegrounds.
Female presence on the frontline is unusual, the report notes, as female sympathizers usually serve as “jihadi brides” and are not allowed to fight. But in this case, her tweets reveal her active role on the battlefield.
“I did not see in their actions anything but the utmost of respect for me as a sister,” she wrote in Arabic from Kobani on December 25. In another tweet, she wrote: “God bless those who live on His path and who die on His path.”
“It is possible that with the severe losses ISIS was experiencing they needed the ability to gather intelligence using women, and thus allowed L.A. to penetrate into Kobane,” the TRAC report speculates.
Citing a recent report by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, which said that about 550 of the 3,000 Western citizens on ISIS territory are women, the researchers concluded that “waiting until Canadians have travelled to Syria and are fighting on the frontlines with ISIS is simply too late” and called for a recalibration of prevention strategy.