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German woman charged with membership in foreign terror groups

Illustrative: Police officers secure the High Regional Court in Celle, Germany, on September 26, 2017, for the trial of suspected representative of the Islamic State group. (Holger Hollemann/dpa via AP)
Illustrative: Police officers secure the High Regional Court in Celle, Germany, on September 26, 2017, for the trial of suspected representative of the Islamic State group. (Holger Hollemann/dpa via AP)

BERLIN — Federal prosecutors charge a German woman with membership in two foreign terrorist groups, violating weapons law and committing her son as a fighter to a foreign terrorist group.

German federal prosecutors say that Stefanie A., whose last name is withheld in line with privacy rules, left Germany in 2016 with her son, who was 13 at the time, in order to live with her husband in Syrian territory that was then under the control of the Islamic State group.

She first joined the terrorist organization Jund al-Aqsa and later Islamic State, or IS. She is accused of willingly making her son available to the Jund al-Aqsa and to the IS as a fighter.

Shortly after her arrival in Raqqa in Syria in 2017, the defendant joined the IS, initially living with her husband in Raqqa and managing his household. The couple, who were financially provided for by the IS, made their son available to the group. He completed military training and was called up for combat operations. At 15, he was killed in a bomb attack in March 2018, the prosecutor’s statement said.

A. herself was equipped with an explosive belt and carried a rifle during her membership in IS. She and her husband remained loyal to the Islamic State until the end of the group’s reign, and surrendered to Kurdish troops in February 2019. She was arrested upon her arrival in Germany in March.

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