Teenage Austrian 'poster girl for the Islamic State' killed by group for trying to escape
Sabra Kesinovic, 17, was reportedly murdered after she was caught attempting to escape from Raqqa, Syria
Published 25/11/2015 | 06:27
An Austrian teenager who became a poster girl for the Islamic State has reportedly been beaten to death by the group after she was caught trying to leave Syria.
Sabra Kesinovic, 17, was murdered after she was caught attempting to escape from Raqqa, Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant's (Isil) de facto capital in Syria, according to reports in two Austrian newspapers.
She appeared extensively in Isil propaganda material after leaving her native Vienna to join the group together with Sabina Selimovic, a 16-year-old friend.
The two teenagers were shown wearing Islamic headbands and brandishing Kalashnikov rifles, surrounded by masked male jihadists.
They were also shown wearing full Islamic veils and pointing towards heaven.
The Austrian government refused to comment on reports in Österreich and Kronen Zeitung newspapers that Kesinovic had been beaten to death.
“We cannot comment on individual cases,” Thomas Schnöll, a spokesman for the foreign ministry said.
Both Austrian women are now believed to be dead, after reports Selimovic was killed in fighting in Syria last year.
Krone Zeitung newspaper quoted an unnamed Tunisian woman who lived with the two Austrians in Raqqa as saying Kesinovic was murdered.
The Tunisian, who was also an Isil volunteer for a woman, later escaped.
Kesinovic and Selimovic were both children of Bosnian refugees who fled to Austria from the war in their country during the nineties.
Their families reported them missing after they disappeared from their homes in Vienna last year.
They reportedly left a note for their families which read: “Don’t look for us. We will serve Allah and we will die for him.”
They were traced as taking a flight to the Turkish capital of Ankara, and travelling on to the region of Adana, close to the border with Syria.
It emerged they had joined Isil after Kesinovic telephoned her sister from Syria to let her know she was alright.
She reportedly wrote home late last year telling family she wanted to return and that she has had enough of the extreme violence she witnessed every day.
It is believed they both married Isil jihadists in Syria. Selimovic later denied reports she was pregnant in an exchange of SMSes to the magazine Paris Match, and claimed she was happy in Syria.
“Here I can really be free. I can practise my religion. I couldn’t do that in Vienna,” she told the magazine.
Reports of her death first emerged last year from David Scharia, an expert at the UN security council’s counter-terrorism committee.
“We received information just recently about two 15-year-old girls, of Bosnian origin, who left Austria,” he said.
“Both were recruited by Islamic State. One was killed in the fighting in Syria, the other has disappeared.”
It now seems that the disappearance was explained by Kesinovic’s murder.
Authorities have accused a Bosnian Islamic preacher living in Vienna of recruiting the two women for Isil. He has denied the accusation.
Named only as Mirsad O under Austrian privacy laws, he is also known as Abu Tejda.
He was arrested last year over separate allegations he was part of a terrorist funding network.
Both women’s families were warned that one of them was feared dead by the Austrian authorities last year.
Neither family has commented on the latest reports.