One of two Austrian teenage ‘postergirls’ who flew to Syria in April to join Islamic State ranks is believed to have been killed.
Samra Kesinovic, 16, and her friend Sabina Selimovic, 15, vanished from their Vienna homes earlier this year.
Soon afterwards they posted images of themselves branding Kalashnikov rifles, surrounded by armed men – photos which Austrian police feared were acting as militant recruitment posters for young girls.
It is not yet known which one of the teenagers has been killed as the death is yet to be officially confirmed by the Austrian government.
The motivations of the two girls are unclear but before leaving, they had contact with Chechen youths, and visited a mosque in Vienna’s second district. And last week, police expressed concerns that the pair were inspiring their contemporaries after two other teenage girls were caught attempting to flee the country to join IS ranks
Austrian media warned several weeks ago that the girls had become the public face for the call to jihad. The fears appeared to be validated with the Austrian Interior Ministry confirming two other girls from Vienna had attempted to flee to take up the call for holy war.
Little information was given about the latest pair hoping to join Islamic State apart from the fact that one was 16 and the other was 14 and their parents were apparently from Iraq.
Police now want to find out how they became radicalised, and whether anybody had helped them plan their trip to Syria which was apparently set to take place via Turkey – following the same route as the other two girls.
The pair were caught when the mother of a third friend who was supposed to be travelling with them became suspicious about the amount of luggage her daughter was packing.
It’s not known if they group were in contact with Samra and Selimovic, who – despite the fact they are being hunted by Interpol – have remained missing.
However, social media updates posted by the two show them dressed in traditional Muslim clothing and in some instances, standing beside men holding guns.
As many as 130 people from Austria are now believed to be fighting as jihadists abroad.