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Islamic State brides – where are the female jihadists now? | World News

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An east London schoolgirl who left Britain to marry an Islamic State fighter is now heavily pregnant and says she wants to return home.

Shamima Begum told The Times: “I’m not the same silly little 15-year-old schoolgirl who ran away from Bethnal Green four years ago.”

“The caliphate is over,” she added.

As the terror group nears defeat in Syria and Iraq, Sky News takes a look at what has happened to some of the other jihadi brides who fled their families to join IS in the Middle East.

BETHNAL GREEN GIRLS

Kadiza Sultana, Shamima Begum, Adiza Abase
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Kadiza Sultana, Shamima Begum and Amira Abase

Shamima Begum is one of three British schoolgirls who left their homes in east London and travelled to Syria in February 2015.

The 19-year-old said one of the trio, Kadiza Sultana, married an American IS fighter and was killed after her house in Raqqa was bombed.

She is believed to have died in a Russian airstrike on the then IS-stronghold in May 2016, but that has never been confirmed.

Shamima Begum said: “Her house was bombed. Underground, there was secret stuff going on and a spy had figured out that something was going on and other people got killed as well.

“At first I was in denial. I thought if we died we’d die together.”

The fate of the third schoolgirl Amira Abase, who Shamima Begum said married an Australian IS militant, is unknown.







Inside Islamic State’s last village

The trio had followed another friend from their school, Sharmeena Begum, who fled to Syria in 2014 and married a Bosnian IS fighter.

Shamima Begum said she last saw Amira Abase and Sharmeena Begum in June, but had heard from other IS brides only two weeks ago, that the pair were “still alive in Baghuz”, the terror group’s last-remaining enclave in Syria.

AQSA MAHMOOD

Aqsa Mahmood
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Aqsa Mahmood joined IS at the age of 19

The Bethnal Green pupils were reported to have been indoctrinated by the al-Khansaa Brigade, an all-female IS religious unit which enforces Sharia law, in which Glaswegian Aqsa Mahmood was believed to be a prominent figure.

The suspected IS recruiter joined the militants in Syria at the age of 19 – two years before the east London trio – in November 2013.

She travelled through Turkey to Aleppo, and has also reportedly encouraged terrorist acts via Twitter under the name Umm Layth.

In the summer of 2017, Aqsa Mahmood was reportedly one of 150 suspected jihadists and criminals stripped of their British citizenship and banned from returning to the UK by the government.

SALLY JONES

Sally Jones is Junaid Hussain's widow
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Sally Jones, known as the ‘White Widow’, was married to killed IS fighter Junaid Hussain

“White Widow” Sally Jones – the former punk rocker who became the leading female IS recruitment officer – is believed to be alive and fighting for the militant group, according to reports.

She went to Syria in 2013 with her husband Junaid Hussain and was previously thought to have been killed in a US drone strike along with her 12-year-old son in October 2017, while reportedly trying to leave Raqqa.

However, there have since been claims Jones survived and is still living in the militants’ last-remaining strongholds.

Jones uses her Twitter account to recruit women to IS, share pictures of herself with weapons, and has provided practical advice on how to travel to Syria



The name of an apparently British victim inscribed on the walls at IS's death prison in Raqqa



Raqqa: Inside Islamic State’s prison of death

In an exclusive report in 2015, Sky News revealed Jones and her husband used online messaging services to urge British would-be recruits to carry out “lone wolf” attacks in the UK.

In one conversation with an undercover journalist, Jones detailed the materials needed to make a bomb and said she could help construct a device remotely.

Her husband was killed in a US drone strike in August 2017.

Following the death of Hussain, Jones was reportedly placed in charge of the female wing of the Anwar al-Awlaki batallion – an IS foreign fighter unit formed with the purpose of planning and executing attacks in the West.

LINDA WENZEL

Arrested: German girl who joined IS
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German teenager Linda Wenzel was captured by Iraqi forces in Mosul

One teenager who is reportedly serving a six-year prison sentence for joining IS is 18-year-old German, Linda Wenzel.

She joined the jihadists when she was 15, having been lured to Raqqa by a Chechen IS fighter whom she went on to wed.

Wenzel was 16 when she was captured by Iraqi forces in Mosul in 2017 and was apparently found under rubble in the war-torn Iraqi city.

She travelled to Turkey in July 2016 with the aim of reaching Iraq or Syria before security services lost track of her.

Wenzel was described as an IS sniper hiding with 30 women, some wearing suicide vests, when she was found.

She was reportedly captured with a gun in her hand next to her husband, who was then killed by Iraqi forces.

Her trial took place behind closed doors, due to her age, in the Iraqi capital Baghdad.

Wenzel escaped the death penalty but was jailed for five years for joining IS and a further year for entering Iraq illegally, German media reported last February.

DJAMILA BOUTOUTAOU

French jihadist Djamila Boutoutaou attends her trial at the Central penal Court in Baghdad
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French jihadist Djamila Boutoutaou at her trial in Baghdad

French citizen Djamila Boutoutaou reportedly travelled to Iraq with her husband Mohammed Nassereddine, a former rapper, and their two children in 2014.

He was killed fighting for IS in Mosul in 2016 and their son died a year later.

She was reportedly captured by the Kurdish peshmerga in northern Iraq and sent to Baghdad with her toddler daughter.

There, she stood trial and was sentenced to life in prison in April last year for joining IS.

The then 29-year-old told her trial she was “a victim” and had been “tricked” into moving to Iraq by her husband.

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