Tuesday 20 March 2018

Medical student is first female UK Isil recruit killed in Iraq

Rowan Kamal Zine El Abidine
Rowan Kamal Zine El Abidine

Rachel Pells

A medical student who joined Isil has become the first British female recruit to be killed after she was caught in an air strike in Iraq, reports claim.

Rowan Kamal Zine El Abidine (22) died during the attack on Thursday, but her husband and baby daughter are thought to have survived.

News agencies in Sudan - where the student's family are from - did not specify where in Iraq the strike took place, but it is believed Ms El Abidine was in Mosul, where foreign recruits often live in the terror group's main base.

Before joining Isil, Ms El Abidine left the UK to attend the University of Medical Sciences and Technology in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum.

She made headlines last year when it was reported that she and eight other British students from her university had left to join Isil.

The students, who were born and raised in England, but had been studying medicine in Khartoum, flew to Turkey in March last year before crossing over the border into the Isil-controlled town of Tal Abyad, Syria.

One of the students reportedly told her parents via Whatsapp that they had gone to Syria to "help, not to fight" by treating victims.

The British Foreign Office said it could not confirm Ms El Abidine's death.

Meanwhile, Isil lost an area the size of Ireland - a quarter of its territory - to hostile forces in the last 18 months in Iraq and Syria and is likely to further step up attacks on civilians in coming months, research firm IHS said in a report yesterday.

The territory controlled by the ultra-hardline Sunni group shrank from 90,800sq.km in January 2015, six months after it declared a caliphate in Syria and Iraq, to 68,300sq.km, the research firm said. This has led the group to step up attacks on civilian targets in the Middle East and in Europe and this is likely to intensify, IHS said.

Irish Independent

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