Sixteen women, including a 16-year-old German girl who ran away from home, have been arrested in Mosul as Iraqi forces re-captured the northern city from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Three Iraqi intelligence officials told the Associated Press news agency on Saturday that the women were among 26 foreigners taken into custody in Mosul. Two were men and eight were children.
Speaking to the AP on the condition of anonymity, the officials said some of those arrested were from Chechnya, and the women were from Russia, Iran, Syria, France, Belgium and Germany.
They said the women allegedly worked with ISIL in the police department. Their husbands were ISIL fighters but their fates were not clear.
The children will be handed over to the countries they belong to, while the women will be tried on terrorism charges in Iraq, according to the officials.
They could face the death penalty under Iraqi counter-terrorism laws for belonging to ISIL, also known as ISIS.
Lorenz Haase, senior public prosecutor in the eastern German city of Dresden, said he could confirm that the German teenager, named only as Linda W., had been “located and identified in Iraq”.
She had converted to Islam shortly before she ran away from home last year.
“We, as the public prosecutor’s office Dresden, have not applied for an arrest warrant and will therefore not be able to request extradition,” Haase said.
“There is the possibility that Linda might be put on trial in Iraq. She might be expelled for being a foreigner or, because she is a minor reported missing in Germany, she could be handed over to Germany.”
The Iraqi officials said she was at a prison near Baghdad’s airport together with the other foreign women found in Mosul.
They said Linda W. had met a Muslim Arab online and married him after her arrival in Iraq from her hometown of Pulsnitz in eastern Germany.
She was apprehended in a basement of Mosul’s Old City earlier this month.
In addition to Linda W., the Iraqis found three other women from Germany, with roots in Morocco, Algeria and Chechnya.
The Iraqi officials said the German-Moroccan woman has a child and both were arrested in Mosul about ten days ago.
French and German Embassy personnel have already visited the arrested women, they said.
More than 930 people have left Germany to join ISIL in Syria and Iraq in recent years, according to estimates by the BfV domestic intelligence agency. About 20 percent of them are women.
Minors account for about 5 percent of the total number, of which half are female, it estimated.