Two teen girls from Austria fled to Syria and joined the Islamic State militants, also commonly referred to as ISIS, a few months ago. These girls became symbols of how big a threat radicalization of Western youths could be. Now, one is believed to be dead.
Samra Kesinovic, 16, and her 15-year-old friend Sabina Selimovic disappeared from their homes in Vienna earlier this year to join ISIS. Both had previously converted to Islam. Peter Slanar, the head of the school that the teens attended, said that they had been trying to get others to convert prior to fleeing the country.
“There were vandalism incidents in which tables and walls had the words ‘I love Al Qaeda’ written on them,” Slanar said.
Not long after fleeing Austria, the girls began posting pictures of themselves with Kalashnikov rifles, and authorities in their home country were afraid they were being used to help recruit other young people to join ISIS. Alexander Marakovits, a spokesman for Austria’s Interior Ministry, said recently that they hoped to stop other teens from following suit.
“If we can catch them before they leave, we have the chance to work with their parents and other institutions to bring the youngsters out of the sphere of influence that prompted them to act in this way in the first place,” Marakovits said at the time. “Once they have left the country, even if they then changed their minds, it is then almost impossible to get them back.”
On Sunday, Marakovits told The Salzburger News that it was believed one of the teenagers was already dead.
“We also have this information and have checked it, but cannot say with absolute certainty that it is true,” said Marakovits. “But the parents have been informed their daughter could be dead.”
Konrad Kogler, Austria’s Director General for Public Security, confirmed that there were rumors that one of the teens had died, but he was quick to point out that the rumors were unverified.
Austrian government officials say that around 130 people from their nation have joined the fight alongside ISIS, and the U.S. says that nearly 100 Americans are believed to have done the same.
Photo Sources: Interpol, Europics