German authorities ordered a German woman, believed to be an “Islamic State” (IS) member, to be returned to her home country from a Syrian camp, according to reports on Friday.
Spiegel magazine identified the woman as 30-year-old Laura H. from central Germany, saying that she left the country and joined the jihadi militia in 2016. She and three of her children are now reportedly living in the Kurdish-run prisoner camp al-Hol in northern Syria. They are set to reach Germany “in the coming days” by traveling via the Kurdish city of Erbil in Iraq, according to Spiegel.
On Friday, German officials confirmed that three “German children who are detained in northern Syria, will be able to leave for Iraq together with their mother.” However, they did not confirm the mother’s identity or provide any details.
According to media reports, German authorities have been investigating the mother on suspicion of membership in a terror organization and child neglect.
US girl under care of ‘IS’ suspect
Female “Islamic State” suspects have already faced detention and trial in Germany, but prosecution has been limited to suspects who traveled back of their own accord or were extradited by other countries. If the case of Laura H. is confirmed, it would mark the first time that German authorities themselves repatriate such a suspect.
In addition to her own children, the woman also has a two-year-old girl with US citizenship in her care, said sources cited by the mass-circulation Bild newspaper and the DPA news agency. Bild reported that the girl is the daughter of the woman’s first husband, who is himself a US citizen. It was not immediately clear how the child came to be with Laura H.
German security sources believe that more than 80 German IS members remain captive in Syria. Berlin recently announced that it would decide on repatriation of jihadi wives on a case-by-case basis. Several children have already been repatriated from the camps in the Middle East. Earlier this month, a German court ordered that a different IS-linked mother and children must be repatriated together, because the minors were dependent “on protection and care of their mother.”
European Union nations face immense international pressure to take back former “IS” members, but the European officials have been dragging their feet over security concerns.
dj/aw (AFP, dpa)