Jihadi bride ‘had a rifle and sewed explosive vests on suicide bombers’
Sources who lived under Islamic State’s barbaric rule also described her as an “enforcer” for the feared morality police. It was claimed that Begum used the internet to recruit women in Europe for the terror outfit. She was paid between £500 and £1,000 a month as an enforcer, sources claim.
Women who violated the IS morality codes faced jail or a flogging. The allegations, if true, would shatter Begum’s claims that she was nothing more than a housewife in the IS capital of Raqqa, in Syria.
But it could explain why she and her husband, Dutch extremist Yago Riedijk, only quit IS when it was on the point of collapse following relentless attacks by the Syrian Democratic Forces and the US-led coalition. Begum fled her east London home aged 15 to join IS with two school-friends in 2015. In February, Begum was controversially stripped of her UK citizenship by Home Secretary Sajid Javid – but her lawyers are planning a legal challenge.
Now 19, she has had three children, all of whom have died. Tracked down to a refugee camp in Syria earlier this year, she begged to be allowed to return to Britain. She said: “When I went to Syria, I was just a housewife. I just stayed at home and looked after my kids. I didn’t do anything dangerous.
“I never made propaganda, I never encouraged people to come to Syria.” But she showed no regrets about joining the murderous Fled terrorist group and dismissed the 2017 suicide bombing in Manchester, which killed 22, as “retaliation” for air raids on IS.
But a different picture of her life in Syria has been alleged after interrogations of other Western jihadis by spy agencies, thought to include the CIA. Other details have emerged from anti-IS group Sound and Picture, whose members lived under the brutal caliphate.
Prime Minister Theresa May and Mr Javid are understood to have been briefed on her alleged activities by intelligence chiefs. And yesterday Colonel Richard Kemp, a former head of International Terrorism Intelligence in the Cabinet Office, said Begum should never be allowed to return to the UK.
He said: “I am sure this is the sort of information that was available to the Home Secretary when he made the decision to strip her of UK citizenship. “This information, if true, shows she is a terrorist rather than a victim and she should not come back here.” The allegations include a claim that she sewed suicide vests on to jihadis, which meant they could only be removed by letting off the bomb within.
A spokesman for Sound and Picture said Begum had been part of the IS morality police, who made sure Western women recruits observed Muslim rules. He said she carried a Kalashnikov rifle and was feared for her strictness. There are also claims that she sent messages to girls in the West urging them to join IS. The Foreign Office declined to comment on the reports. Begum’s lawyer declined to comment but is understood to have demanded that the Home Office make public any evidence.
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