Kurdish troops rescue Swedish girl, 16, from Islamic State near Mosul


Iraqi Kurdish troops have rescued a Swedish teenager from the Islamic State group near the extremist-controlled city of Mosul, the Kurdish government said Tuesday.

A statement from the regional government said the rescue operation by the Kurdish anti-terrorist forces took place on Feb. 17 near Mosul, 360 km (225 miles) northwest of Baghdad.

The statement identified the young woman by name, saying she is a 16-year-old from the Swedish town of Boras who “was misled” by an Islamic State member in Sweden to travel to Syria and later to Mosul.

It also said the Swedish authorities and the teenager’s family had contacted the Iraqi Kurdish government and asked for help in locating and rescuing the girl from the Islamic State.

The young woman is currently in Iraqi Kurdish territory and is being “provided the care afforded to her under international law,” the statement said, adding that she will be “transferred to Swedish authorities to return home once necessary arrangements” are made.

The statement provided no details on the rescue operation and did not say whether the teen was mistreated while with the Islamic State group. The Associated Press does not identify minors who may have been victims of abuse or may be accused of crimes.

Iraqi Kurdish officials contacted by AP in Irbil, the capital of the Kurdish semi-autonomous region in northern Iraq, declined to provide more details on the case.

Iraq’s second-largest city of Mosul was the first major city to fall into the hands of Islamic State militants during their blitz in June 2014, when the group swept across vast areas in the country’s north and west.

To this day, Mosul remains under control of the Islamic State group as Iraqi forces, aided by airstrikes carried out by the U.S.-led international coalition, are battling to reclaim ground lost to the militants. Iraqi troops are also assisted by Shiite militiamen and Sunni pro-government fighters in the battle, while Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga forces are fighting Islamic State militants to the north and east of Mosul.