A German teenager who faces the death penalty for fighting with Islamic State (IS) in Iraq says she regrets her decision and just wants to go home to her family.
German media outlets have reported that the girl, just 16, is one of four German women who joined IS in recent years and are being held in an Iraqi prison and all of whom face the death penalty for having married IS jihadists.
The girl, named as Linda W who reportedly married an IS jihadist in 2016, had been “located and identified in Iraq” and was receiving consular support, according to Lorenz Haase, the senior public prosecutor in Dresden.
Several media outlets have named the girl as Linda Wenzel who disappeared from her home town of Pulsnitz, a small market town close to Dresden in eastern Germany.
German broadcasters NDR and WDR and newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung said a local reporter had interviewed Linda W at a military complex in Baghdad where she admitted to having made a terrible mistake and wanting to return to Germany.
“I just want to get away from here,” she was quoted as saying. “I want to get away from the war, from the many weapons, from the noise.”
“I just want to go home to my family.”
According to a report in Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine, Linda W disappeared in the summer of 2016, soon after she had converted to Islam after being radicalised online.
Mr Haase last week said she had travelled to Turkey about a year ago with the goal of reaching Iraq or Syria but that security officials had lost her trail after her arrival in Turkey.
She allegedly made contact with IS associates through internet chat forums and married a Chechnyan IS soldier soon after that.
After the liberation of Mosul, an Iraqi soldier reportedly took a picture of the girl that made headlines around the world.
— Vian Dakhil (@VianDakhil) July 16, 2017
The girl was initially thought to be a Kurdish Yazidi until she told them she was from Germany.
Linda W told the reporter that she now wanted to be extradited to Germany and would cooperate fully with authorities, despite no charges having been laid as yet.
German media reported the girl had a gunshot wound on her left thigh and another injury on her right knee that she said she had sustained during a helicopter attack.
Bild newspaper interviewed the girl’s father, “Reiner W”, who said he had never given up hope his “little girl” would come to her senses and come home.
Germany’s intelligence agency estimated about 960 people had left the country to fight for IS, and several wanted to return.