German jihadi schoolgirl found in Iraq ‘just wants to come home’

News Hour:

Linda W., the 16-year-old German girl who ran away from her home near Dresden to join the so-called “Islamic State” (IS) in Iraq, said she regreted her decision in an interview published Sunday.

An Iraqi reporter commissioned by respected daily Süddeutscher Zeitung and public broadcasters NDR and WDR spoke to the girl at an undisclosed military hospital in Baghdad.

“I just want to leave,” Linda W. is quoted as saying. “I want to get out of the war, away from the many weapons, the noise.”

The girl, who was 15 when she fled Germany, told reporters it took her a month travel to Turkey, through Syria and into Iraq to marry an IS fighter.

She said she did not want to go to Mosul, but that she was “shipped” there and her husband was killed soon afterwards.

The girl said she was hiding in a cellar near the River Tigris. When Iraqi soldiers found her they assumed she was part of the Yazidi minority, who are often held as slaves by IS. She was reportedly annoyed by this assumption, saying “I am German.”

At the time of the interview Linda W. had not yet been interrogated, but told the reporter she wanted to cooperate with investigators. An Iraqi judge ordered that she be medically treated first.

Linda said she was doing well despite a shrapnel wound in her left thigh and damage to the right knee. “This comes from a helicopter attack,” she said.

The brief interview was conducted in the presence of a soldier, an American paramedic and the investigating prosecutor.

The girl was reportedly first taken to a general hospital but authorities said they could not guarantee her safety there, given many victims of IS were being treated there too.

Linda’s sister Miriam W. told reporters she was simply “happy that she is alive.”

Fellow wounded German IS-wife Fatima M. was also at the hospital at the time of the interview.

Fatima M. reportedly fled from Chechnya to Austria at the age of fifteen, and then married a German national, Mogamed A. The family, including two children, later joined IS and traveled to Mosul. She told the reporter that her husband died several months ago and that her children were missing after a coalition airstrike.

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