One of two Austrian teenage girls who reportedly fled Vienna to join ISIS is now believed to be dead.
The girls, Samra Kesinovic, 17, and Sabina Selimovic, 15, left Vienna in 2014 with a note telling their parents that they had gone to fight in Syria, the New York Daily News reports.
Kesinovic and Selimovic were believed to have settled in ISIS’ Syrian capital of Raqqa after flying to Ankara, making their way through Turkey to Adana, and then crossing by foot into Syria.
The two resurfaced on social media sites in late 2014 as recruiters for ISIS. They then became poster girls for ISIS’ female recruitment campaign.
Kesinovic and Selimovic were monitored closely by international authorities including Interpol and the UN’s Counter-terrorism Committee (CTED).
It is widely believed that both girls were married immediately after crossing into Syria and joining ISIS.
Speaking via text message with French weekly Paris Match in 2014, Selimovic did not confirm that she was pregnant, but reiterated that she was enjoying life in Syria and felt free to practice her religion in a way that she could not in Austria.
According to the Daily News, sources believe that the two girls eventually wanted to leave ISIS and return to Austria, and had done much damage to the group in doing so.
Soon thereafter, the girls' fate changed. As David Scharia of CTED confirmed, “one was killed in the fighting in Syria, the other has disappeared.”
The details remained murky until this month when reports in Osterreich and Kronen Zeitung papers quoted a Tunisian woman who knew the girls claiming that Kesinovic was beaten to death.
Mirsad O., known as Ebu Tejma, is believed to have radicalized the two girls. He is an Islamic preacher living in Vienna. He was arrested in November for an alleged role in funding an Austrian-based terrorist network.
Kesinovic and Selimovic are not the first European girls to join ISIS. A set of three British high school girls made headlines when they appeared in Syria. It is confirmed that two of those girls are married to ISIS soldiers.
The Guardian reports that only 10 percent of those leaving Western nations to join jihadist groups in Syria and Iraq are female. Furthermore, France is the origin country for 25 percent of the total.