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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 22 June 2018

German ‘bride of ISIL’ found amid rubble of Mosul

But while Islamic convert is rescued from the rubble, hundreds remain buried feared dead in the Old City

A young woman captured in Mosul has been identified by German newspapers as Linda Wenzel
A young woman captured in Mosul has been identified by German newspapers as Linda Wenzel

A German teenager has been pictured emerging from rubble in Mosul following the capture of the Iraqi city from ISIL last week.

Sixteen-year-old Linda Wenzel, who disappeared from her home in Pulsnitz, near Dresden, more than a year ago, is believed to have converted to Islam and travelled to Iraq to join up with the terror group.

Iraqi security forces have said that Wenzel had been working as a sniper for ISIL in the city, which had been pounded by heavy artillery for months in the run-up to its recapture.

It’s believed that more than 5,000 buildings in the Old City have been damaged or destroyed in the battle to retake Mosul; on Tuesday the bodies of five children were recovered from rubble by Iraqi relief workers there.

NGOs in the city believe there could be thousands lying dead or injured under ruined buildings bombed by Coalition airplanes or ISIL rocket fire.

Wenzel was captured in a tunnel system underneath Mosul by armed forces mopping up after the battle for the city. She was with around 30 other women from Russia, Turkey, Canada and Chechnya, some of whom wore suicide vests and were carrying automatic weapons.

A Western journalist, Björn Stritzel‏, who has been following the girl’s story for months, has been tweeting that he believes it is definitely the German.

Stritzel said that the girl had been trafficked between rival jihadist groups since she arrived in the Middle East and had probably been smuggled into Mosul.

“It’s almost unbelievable how lucky she was: Apparently found uninjured under the rubble after months of fierce fighting in Mosul,” Stritzel tweeted.

Initially it was believed that she could have been a Yazidi girl who had been enslaved by ISIL, as a family was looking for a daughter of a similar description, but a relative came to try to identify her and said she wasn’t that person.

Wenzel had shown an interest in Islam at the beginning of last year, and her mother bought her a copy of the Koran. Soon the girl was fasting for Ramadan and covering up in heavy clothing.

She is believed to have bought airplane tickets to fly to Istanbul in summer last year, and on July 1 left her family home saying she was going to see a friend. She was not seen again in Germany.