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'Jihadi bride' London schoolgirl 'killed in Syria air strike'

Published 11/08/2016

A British schoolgirl who joined Islamic State (IS) in Syria last year is believed to have died in Raqqa when a suspected Russian air strike obliterated her house, according to ITV News.

Kadiza Sultana, 17, who fled Bethnal Green in east London with two other teenage girls in the 2015 Easter holidays, was living in the terror group's stronghold city, where she was killed in May, the broadcaster reports.

Her family says she was disillusioned with life in Syria and they were hoping to get her across the border and into Turkey before she died.

Kadiza and two others, Shamima Begum and Amira Abase, both then 15, were feared to have become so-called "jihadi brides" when they absconded.

The Bethnal Green trio are believed to have married fellow foreigners who were fighting for IS, ITV News said. Ms Sultana's husband was an American national of Somali origin who died late last year.

Her sister, Halima Khanom, spoke to ITV News and the interview included phone recordings between the siblings.

Ms Sultana, speaking before her death, said: "I don't have a good feeling. I feel scared ...

"You know the borders are closed right now, so how am I going to get out?"

Her sister asked how confident she was of escaping and she replied: "Zero."

All three girls were represented by lawyer Tasnime Akunjee, who told ITV News: "You would move heaven and earth to get any child back from a danger zone, and this family had done all they could and stretched every sinew to get their daughter, their sibling back home.

"Perhaps the only benefit out of this is as a tombstone and a testimony for others of the risks of actually going to a warzone, to dissuade people from ever making that choice."

The lawyer who represented the girls has said: "Leaving Isis (IS) is like trying to escape from Alcatraz, with a shoot-to-kill order added in."

Ms Khanom said: "We were expecting this in a way. But at least we know she is in a better place."

The Bethnal Green schoolgirls were among more than 800 Britons believed to have left the UK to join IS or other militant groups in Syria and Iraq, ITV News said. It is thought that at least 250 have since returned. Some have faced prosecution, with others allowed to re-enter society under the watch of security services.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe told MPs last year the Bethnal Green trio would be unlikely to be prosecuted if they returned to Britain unless there was evidence they had committed any specific crimes while with IS.

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From Belfast Telegraph