A 16 years old German schoolgirl who ran away from home to join ISIS has been captured in ruins of Iraqi city of Mosul. Linda Wenzel, from the town of Pulsnitz, near Dresden, was found with members of the terror group’s fearsome all female police force, some of whom were wearing suicide vests. She fled Germany one year ago by posing as her mother Catherine and flying from Frankfurt to Turkey, before making her way into Syria. Police believe she had fallen in love with a Muslim man she met online who persuaded her to move to Syria to join with him. She was among 20 ISIS followers seized after Mosul fell following a 10 month battle which left 25’000 Jihadists dead and Iraq’s second largest city destroyed. She was caught in a tunnel system in Mosul with other women, some of whom wore suicide vests and had automatic weapons. Media reports told they worked for the ISIS police force in city. Among those detained were women from Russia, Turkey, Canada and Chechnya, all were seized during military mopping-up operations last Thursday. Authorities in Germany, who listed her as a potential terror suspect after her disappearance, confirmed they are examining the pics of her captured in newly liberated Mosul to determine it is actually her. According to sources, the captive girl is definitely the missing schoolgirl from Germany.
Radicalised in Germany, Linda changed her name to Mariam and sometimes posted pics of herself on her Facebook page wearing a headscarf. ‘There are new findings in the criminal investigation that are being tested. When she is clearly identified, the investigation will be resumed’ said chief prosecutor Lorenz Haase. Linda was unhappy at home and turned to Islam and soon began engaging with ISIS followers in Middle East on Internet chat rooms. Her friends said to police she had started learning Arabic, taking the Koran to school, wearing conservative clothing and becoming fascinated with Islam before her disappearance. She was under observation of German intelligence officials suspected of plotting a serious crime against the state when she fled abroad, where she fell in with ISIS offshoot groups before being smuggled into the Iraq. Before fleeing, Linda said to her mother she was going to stay with friends but instead forged a letter pretending to be Catherine which allowed her to withdraw money from bank.
She then used the counterfeit bank authorisation and her mother’s forged identification papers to buy ticket to Istanbul. When her mother noticed she was missing, teenager had already flown to Turkey and vanished. Linda’s mother told in July last year ‘When she did not come back and then I found out she had never even been there, I called the police. In her room they found a print of a plane ticket to Istanbul under the mattress. I was shocked, my daughter has never stolen or lied about anything before. I am devastated by the fact that she was apparently completely brainwashed and persuaded to leave the country by someone and that she managed to hide it from me.’ Her classmate Jule 16 years old had noticed her best friend change over time and said ‘More and more Linda shied away from the rest of us. She suddenly dressed in long clothes, was learning Arabic and reading the Koran.’ The criminal police of state of Saxony are heading an international search for the girl, but state attorney Till Neumann 54 years old admits that the whereabouts of the girls are still unknown. Iraqi security forces recently ended 3 years of ISIS rule in Iraqi city of Mosul and the terror group is under growing pressure in Raqqa, it is de-facto capital in Syria. Footage reportedly showing ISIS fighters crawling out of their tunnels to surrender to Iraqi counter-terror units after city was reclaimed from jihadists. The clip, uploaded to Twitter on Wednesday, appears to show wounded fighters, 1 using a pair of crutches, walking away from a destroyed building. The men can be seen with black hoods over their faces as they are led away by some soldiers. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s victory announcement signaled the biggest defeat for the hard-line Sunni group since it swept through northern Iraq 3 years ago.
But pockets of Mosul remain insecure and city has been heavily damaged by nearly nine months of gruelling urban combat. Around 900’000 people fled fighting, with more than a third sheltered in camps outside Iraq’s second largest city and the rest living with family and friends in other neighborhoods. Civilian activity has quickly returned to much of Mosul and work is underway to repair damaged homes and infrastructure, something the United Nations estimates will initially cost at least $1 billion.