Father of schoolgirl Linda Wenzel captured in Mosul speaks of 'joy' at finding her alive

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The father of a German teenager who joined Islamic State in Iraq today spoke for the first time of his joy that his daughter is alive.

Linda Wenzel was 15 when she vanished from the small German town of Pulsnitz in July last year to fight for the terror group after being groomed online by a Chechen jihadist. She is reported to have married him.

Last week the girl, now 16, was pulled wounded but alive from the rubble of a house in the Iraqi city of Mosul.

Holding up a photo, her father Reiner, 52, said: “That is my little one. I recognised her from a little scar across one eye that she got as a child from a garden swing. I have never seen my little one look so serious and so sad.”

The construction worker said he was painting lines on a motorway near his home in Dresden last week when he got the news. “I collapsed,” he told Germany’s Bild newspaper. 

“I heard on the radio that they had found her alive in Mosul. My colleagues came over to me. I had to leave and go and sit at a service station where I cried.” 

Mr Wenzel, who lives apart from Linda’s mother Katharina, 48, said he got a call from his ex-partner in July last year, asking if he knew where she was. Linda had told her mother that she was spending the weekend with a friend. 

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She had actually bought a ticket for Istanbul with her mother’s credit card and was then smuggled into Syria. 

Her father said: “All the time she was gone I wished that my Linda was safe and that she would return happy and healthy.”

German media interviewed Linda in a military complex in Baghdad. 

She reportedly told them she regretted joining IS and wanted to be extradited to Germany. In theory, Iraqi authorities could sentence her to death. German authorities are engaged in talks with Baghdad to see if she can be brought home to be reunited with her family.

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