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Continued: St. Paul woman recruited to aid terrorists in Syria, relative says

“ISIL is not a band of thugs, they’re an army,” he said. “They look forward to a response that kills civilians because then they will extort it for recruiting ­purposes.”

Since 2007, two distinct waves of Somali teenage boys and young men have been recruited from Minnesota to fight with terrorists based in Somalia. In all, about two dozen were confirmed as successfully reaching Somalia to join the ranks of Al-Shabab — an Al-Qaida-linked force trying to overthrow the U.S.-backed government in that country.

The woman who recently left for Syria did not have a job and was planning to attend St. Paul College to study nursing, the relative said.

“She wanted to work in a hospital and be an RN,” the relative said.

He said that she reportedly called her family twice about a week after she left — once from Turkey and soon after from Syria, according to the relative. The relative said that she notified her family of where she was, including the name of the town she was staying in. She also sent several photos from her smartphone showing where she was living.

 

Star Tribune staff writer Allison Sherry contributed to this report

paul.mcenroe@startribune.com • 612-673-1745

ashah@startribune.com • 612-518-3363

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