(photo credit: REUTERS)
A young Jewish girl is among dozens of French teenagers who have fled France to join Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq, according to a report in The Daily Mail.
The report quoted a French security official who said the Islamic State had recruited a Jewish girl to its ranks. The official spoke anonymously because rules forbid him to discuss open investigations.
The report did not specify the age of the Jewish recruit.
Recruitment of women is an aspect of the conflict that is beginning to worry European governments previously more focused on the flow of young men to join the ranks of Islamic State and others.
Many of the youngest female recruits are lured with promises of humanitarian work. It is only once in Syria that they discover their fate: forced marriage to a fighter, strict adherence to Islamic law, a life under surveillance and little hope of returning home, say parents, relatives and radicalization experts.
Making up about 10 percent of all departures for Islamist-held areas, according to government officials and terrorism experts, young women are seen as prizes for fighters keen to marry.
Teenaged Westerners are often targeted by older, female recruiters, many of whom are based in Europe and use social media, phone calls and false friendships to convince them to do charitable work in war-torn areas. Others need little convincing, keen to have a role in what they perceive to be jihad, or holy war.
A video recorded in secret by a woman in the Islamic State-held city of Raqqa in Syria and broadcast last month on France 2 TV gave a glimpse of the reality: women walking in burqas and one called to order by Islamic police for not adequately covering her face.
While women do not fight - although some form police units - their homes are near combat zones and exposed to bombing from coalition warplanes fighting the Islamic State. Women have little hope of escaping if they have regrets.
In August, a Canadian jihadi fighting with the Islamic State
in Syria said that he believes Israeli Jews would be allowed to join the faction and could even fight in Syria - if they converted to Islam first.