16yo runaway German girl suspected of working with ISIS police found in Iraq
A 16-year-old German girl, who went missing a year ago after converting to Islam, has been identified among those captured by the Iraqi military last week, a prosecutor confirmed. According to Iraqi officials, the girl was working with ISIS police.
Named only as ‘Linda W.’ in accordance with German privacy laws, the teen from the town of Pulsnitz has been confirmed to be the one detained in Iraq recently, Dresden prosecutor Lorenz Haase said.
“We do not know where she was staying last year, whom she contacted, what she did. We must determine this in the near future in order to find out whether she committed a criminal offense or not,” Haase told n-tv news.
“Our information ends with the girl’s arrival in Istanbul about a year ago,” Hasse said, as cited by AP. He added that he could not verify whether Linda W. worked with Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).
Three Iraqi intelligence and investigative officials, who spoke to AP on condition of anonymity, say Linda W. had worked with an Islamic State police department, as did three other women from Germany detained together with her.
The three other women are allegedly of Moroccan, Algerian, and Chechen origin. Their husbands were IS fighters, the officials said. Initial reports suggested there were five women from Germany who had been detained in Mosul days after it was reclaimed from IS.
The girl is currently receiving consular assistance from the German Embassy in Baghdad, the prosecutor said. She is being held in a prison near the Iraqi capital’s airport, according to Iraqi officials.
Since a German arrest warrant has not been issued, it remains unclear whether the teen will return home, Haase said, adding that “there is the possibility that Linda might be put on trial in Iraq.” However, she might be extradited back to Germany, either because she is a foreigner or because she is a minor reported missing abroad.
However, if convicted on terrorist charges, she can face capital punishment in Iraq, according to Der Spiegel.
Before fleeing to Iraq, Linda W. is said to have connected with IS members in online chatrooms. Iraqi officials claim Linda W. met an Arab Muslim on the internet and married him.
Der Spiegel reports that Linda suddenly grew interested in Islam, making a second Facebook account with an Arabic name and fasting during the holy month of Ramadan. The girl reportedly did not make a secret out of her conversion to Islam, eventually asking her school’s headmaster if she could wear a headscarf.
“It was very surprising, though, that the girl has been radicalized in such a way,” Pulsnitz Mayor Barbara Lueke said.
According to Germany’s domestic intelligence service (BfV), 930 people have left the country over the past few years to fight in Syria or Iraq on behalf of IS, with 20 percent of them women.