LONDON — One of three London schoolgirls who traveled to an area controlled by the Islamic State group in Syria to become “jihadi brides” is believed to have been killed in an air strike, a lawyer for her family says.
Tasnime Akunjee told the BBC that Kadiza Sultana’s family had been told that she died in the IS stronghold of Raqqa several weeks ago. He said the family was “devastated.”
He said the death has not been confirmed. Akunjee did not immediately respond Friday to messages from The Associated Press.
Sultana was 16 when she and classmates Shamima Begum and Amira Abase — both 15 — traveled to Syria in February 2015 without telling their families. Their distraught relatives made emotional public appeals for them to come back.
ITV News, which first reported Sultana’s death on Thursday, broadcast phone calls between Sultana and her sister in Britain, in which Sultana said she felt wanted to return to Britain but could see no way of escape.
“I don’t have a good feeling. I feel scared,” Sultana said in one call. “You know the borders are closed right now, so how am I going to get out?”
Her sister, Hamila Khanom, told ITV: “We were expecting this in a way. But at least we know she is in a better place.”
Akunjee told ITV the only good that could come of Sultana’s death would be as “a testimony for others of the risks of actually going to a war zone, to dissuade people from ever making that choice.”
U.K. police estimate at least 800 Britons have traveled to join or support IS in Syria and Iraq, and dozens of them have been killed.