A German teenager, who went to Iraq to join ISIS, has told reporters that she just wants to go home.
Linda Wenzel, who left her hometown of Pulsnitz, near Dresden, last year, gave an interview to German media after being captured by Iraqi forces when they reclaimed the city of Mosul.
Wenzel, 16, spoke to a group of reporters from a military base, where she is being held since her capture.
In a piece published online by the German news show “Tagesschau,” Wenzel says: “I want to go home to my family.”
Elsewhere in the exchange, she said: “I just want to leave. I want to get out of the war, away from the many weapons, the noise.”
— tagesthemen (@tagesthemen) July 23, 2017
The Süddeutscher Zeitung newspaper which also interviewed Wenzel, described the scene of the interview like this:
“They are sitting on metal chairs in an infirmary, where the new recruits of the [US Army’s] Golden Division are normally examined. Their faces are strikingly pale, as are the arms, as the full veil in the Caliphate make any tan impossible. A female Iraqi soldier watches over them, along with three American paramedics and a US soldier.”
Wenzel was 15 when she left home for Turkey, where she crossed the border to ISIS territory and found herself sent to Iraq. According to Süddeutscher Zeitung, she was “silently radicalised” over the internet.
She reportedly told her family she was going to a sleepover at a friend’s house, used a fake bank account to buy a plane ticket to Istanbul, then travelled via land to ISIS-controlled Syria.
After she arrived, she married an ISIS fighter. A report this weekend in the Sunday Times newspaper claimed that Wenzel had a baby with her when she was captured and speculated that she was the mother.
The German reports made no mention of a child.
Some, including Iraqi MP Vian Dakhil, have claimed Wenzel fought for ISIS herself and even served as a jihadist sniper. Dakhil tweeted:
— Vian Dakhil (@VianDakhil) July 16, 2017
Süddeutscher Zeitung’s reporter said his interview was cut short before anyone could ask her about it.
Wenzel could face prosecution for her involvement with ISIS, either by being extradited to Germany or by standing trial in Iraq.
According to Süddeutscher Zeitung, she could face three and a half years in prison for illegally crossing a border, even in the country’s juvenile court system. Any other allegations regarding her time with ISIS could result in further prosecutions.