Tuesday 15 October 2019

'Arena blast like Syria attacks,' says Isil bride

Shamima Begum spoke about Manchester Arena attack. Photo: Metropolitan Police/PA
Shamima Begum spoke about Manchester Arena attack. Photo: Metropolitan Police/PA

Dean Gray in London

A teenage girl who fled Britain to join Islamic State (Isil) has compared the Manchester Arena bombing to military assaults on Syria.

In an interview with the BBC, Shamima Begum, now 19, said the deaths of 22 innocent people in the terrorist attack on an Ariana Grande concert in 2017 were akin to the "women and children" being bombed in Isil territory in Baghuz.

"I do feel that it's wrong that innocent people did get killed," she said.

"It's one thing to kill a soldier that is fighting you, it's self- defence, but to kill the people like women and children...

"Just people like the women and children in Baghuz that are being killed right now unjustly, the bombings. It's a two-way thing really.

"Like, their justification was that it was retaliation, so I thought 'OK, that is a fair justification'."

Ms Begum, who gave birth to her third child at the weekend, left east London with two friends in 2015 to join the terrorist group.

She was partly inspired by videos of fighters beheading hostages and partly by other propaganda films showing the "good life" Isil could offer.

Since she has been there, her two older children have died.

UK authorities now face the question of what to do if Ms Begum returns to Britain.

Her family's lawyer, Tasnime Akunjee, said he anticipated that she would face criminal proceedings upon any return to the UK, but said it was the family's hope that she would be given professional help.

"The family have gone out of their way to try to get her away from the (Isil) narrative and the context which she finds herself in," he said.

Irish Independent

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