UK teen girl who went to join DAESH reported killed

Published 13.08.2016 00:00

One of three London schoolgirls who traveled to an area controlled by DAESH in Syria is believed to have been killed in an airstrike, a lawyer for her family says.

Tasnime Akunjee told the BBC that Kadiza Sultana's family had been told that she died in the DAESH stronghold of Raqqa several weeks ago. He said the family was "devastated." He said the death has not been confirmed. Akunjee did not immediately respond Friday to messages from The Associated Press.

Sultana was 16 when she and classmates Shamima Begum and Amira Abase, both 15, traveled to Syria in February 2015 without telling their families. Their distraught relatives made emotional public appeals for them to come back.

ITV News, which first reported Sultana's death on Thursday, broadcast phone calls between Sultana and her sister in Britain, in which Sultana said she felt wanted to return to Britain but could see no way of escape.

"I don't have a good feeling. I feel scared," Sultana said in one call. "You know the borders are closed right now, so how am I going to get out?" Her sister, Hamila Khanom, told ITV: "We were expecting this in a way. But at least we know she is in a better place."

Akunjee told ITV the only good that could come of Sultana's death would be as "a testimony for others of the risks of actually going to a war zone, to dissuade people from ever making that choice."

British police estimate at least 800 Britons have traveled to join or support DAESH in Syria and Iraq, and dozens of them have been killed.

Three girls boarded a plane in Gatwick Airport, London to Istanbul on February 17, 2015 and traveled to Syria from there. The case became a point of contention between the U.K. and Turkey. Seeking to dodge responsibility, British police had claimed that they notified Turkish authorities immediately after the girls arrived in Istanbul while Turkish officials said the notice came three days later. Then British Prime Minister David Cameron had blamed Turkish Airlines, the country's national carrier, for allowing the girls to board the flight to Istanbul. The three teenage girls then headed to the country's lengthy border with Syria to join DAESH. The carrier responded with a statement, pointing out that it was the British security forces' task to screen travelers and that the girls boarding the flight was legal.

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