A German schoolgirl who ran away from home a year ago to join ISIS has been captured in the ruins of Mosul in Iraq. Linda Wenzel, 16, from Pulsnitz, near Dresden, Germany was among 20 ISIS followers captured after Mosul fell following a ten-month battle which left 25,000 Jihadists dead.
Linda was found last Thursday in a tunnel system in Mosul in the company of ISIS’ fearsome all-female police force, some of whom were wearing suicide vests and had automatic weapons. Women from Russia, Turkey, Canada, and Chechnya were also among those found and captured as the military carried out mopping-up operations.
Before Linda fled Germany, she had been unhappy at home so she turned to Islam and soon began engaging with ISIS followers in the Middle East on Internet chat rooms. She changed her name to Mariam and began to wear a headscarf in her Facebook photos. Her friends told police she had started learning Arabic, taking the Koran to school, wearing conservative clothing and becoming fascinated with Islam. This led to her being put under observation by the German intelligence officials. She is believed to have fallen in love with a Muslim man she met online who persuaded her to move to Syria to join him. She left Germany by posing as her mother Catherine and flying from Frankfurt to Turkey, before making her way into Syria. Before fleeing, Linda told 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 the bank.
Authorities in Germany say they are examining the photos of the girl captured in Mosul to determine if it is actually Linda Wenzel. Newspaper Die Welt, citing security sources, said they are sure the captive girl is definitely Linda.