Arrest warrant issued for female IS sympathiser

Milan, Dec 5 (IANS/AKI) Police have issued an arrest warrant for an Albanian Islamic State sympathiser who went to Syria with her six-year-old son and allegedly enrolled him in jihadist training camps there.

Valbona Berisha, 34, left behind her daughters and husband in the northern Italian city of Lecco in 2014 to join IS in Syria, where she hoped to marry a Macedonian fighter, according to Milan prosecutors.

Berisha allegedly forced her son to train in “body-to-body” combat at a Syrian training camp so that he could become a “future fighter”, according to prosecutors.

“My son must become a warrior,” Berisha allegedly told a female friend.

Investigators wiretapped conversations between the boy and his Albanian father, who he called in Lecco near Milan several times, telling him Berisha dressed “like a ninja” according to prosecutors.

“Mum dresses like a ninja. I said to her let’s go back to Dad because I need to go to school,” the boy told his father according to one alleged wiretap.

It is not known if Valbona and her son are still alive, investigators said.

Valbona changed her son’s name to Yussuf, had him circumcised and took him to live in a town about 40 km from the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, according to investigators.

Valbona’s Albanian husband reported her disappearance to police and repeatedly tried to trace her and to get her to return their son, investigators said.

The woman had undergone rapid self-radicalisation while still in Italy, mainly through viewing IS videos and propaganda material on the internet including sermons by jihadist clerics, said investigators.