Wednesday, August 21, 2019 10:12 am
The German government has flown three children of German Islamic State militants to Frankfurt from the Iraqi city of Erbil, a federal police spokesman said late Tuesday.
It is the first time the German government has brought the children of Islamic State militants home amid a fierce debate about how to handle repatriation of jihadists and their children in the wake of the militant group’s collapse.
The police spokesman said the children’s transport has been overseen by social workers and child protective services, but declined to give further details citing privacy regulations.
Sources told dpa the children included two sisters ages 2 and 4 who had been accompanied to the airport in Erbil by their grandmother, and a boy aged 7 who was also brought to the airport by his grandmother.
According to the German Foreign Ministry, four children including a sick baby were handed over to employees of the German Consulate in Erbil on Monday.
The children had been living in the Kurdish-controlled al-Hol refugee camp near the border with Iraq since the collapse of the Islamic State group.
The police spokesman did not comment on the whereabouts of the baby.
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Monday that the government is working under difficult circumstances to bring more children of Islamic State fighters back to Germany.
“We will engage to ensure that more children can leave Syria,” Maas said.