Two German Islamic State (IS) wives returned to Germany Thursday, on board a Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt.
They are said to have been in a northern Iraqi jail in Kurdish Erbil before returning. German federal prosecutors claim the women are radical Islamists, but their request for an arrest warrant was denied by Germany's Federal Supreme Court (BGH).
- According to German daily Welt, the women were accompanied by German criminal police agents (BKA) on their flight.
- The Federal Supreme Court denied prosecutors' request for a warrant on the grounds that no concrete evidence could be provided showing the women were in fact supporting terrorism.
- The warrant request is currently being reviewed by the BGH's Third Criminal Division.
- According to Welt, more than 80 German Islamists are currently being held in prisons in northern Syria and Iraq for having joined IS with their children.
- The BKA has confirmed that it is interviewing German women in those prisons to assess just who will be returning and what experiences they have had abroad.
- To date, 10 children whose relationship to Germany has been confirmed through DNA tests have been allowed to return.
Last year, Attorney General Peter Frank announced his intention to go after "women who voluntarily join the IS community," which he said constituted "support for a foreign terrorist organization."
Hans-Georg Maasen, president of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), previously said: "Women who have lived in IS-held areas over the last few years have often been radicalized. They identify so closely with the IS ideology that one can rightly call them jihadis."
Speaking of children born into IS families and thus potentially brainwashed, Maasen also said: "One must consider that these children could be living time bombs."
What do we know about the women? The women, Sibel H., of Turkish-German descent from the state of Hesse, and Sabine S., a German convert from Baden-Württemberg, were allowed free entry into the country with their three children.
On high alert: Germany, along with other European countries, has greeted the fall of Islamic State but is also wary of the threat posed by the return of nationals who joined the radical group.
Not alone: German intelligence services estimate that more than 960 Islamists traveled from Germany to join IS in Syria and Iraq and that roughly one-third have already returned.
js/rt (AFP, dpa)