Questions surround reported capture of Jewish woman by ISIS

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Canadian government and Israel’s Foreign Ministry continue to look into reports that a Canadian-Israeli Jewish woman was taken captive by the Islamic State, or ISIS.

Gillian Rosenberg, 31, in recent weeks  joined Kurdish forces in their fight against the Islamic State. Rosenberg’s capture, along with several other female fighters, was reported Sunday on blogs and Islamist websites, according to reports. Rosenberg reportedly was captured by jihadists near the Syrian city of Kobani in recent days.

A Kurdish source told the Israeli daily Yediot Acharonot on Monday that there are no foreign nationals fighting with Kurds in the area where it was claimed Rosenberg was kidnapped.

The Hebrew-language NRG news website reported Monday that Kurdish sources said that international volunteers are not placed in combat roles, but instead support the front-line fighters. The sources also said that no international volunteers have been in Kobani, from where Rosenberg is reported to have been captured.

The Islamic State also has not officially acknowledged such a capture.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry “is following the various reports regarding the issue and is trying to gather further information.” But, a Foreign Ministry spokesman told Yediot, “there are question marks surrounding her said kidnapping,”

Rosenberg’s family reportedly has not contacted the Israeli Foreign Ministry or come forward asking publicly for help.

Rosenberg immigrated to Israel from Canada in 2006 and served as an instructor in an Israeli army search-and-rescue unit.

In 2009, Rosenberg was extradited from Israel to the United States for her involvement in what the FBI called a lottery prize scheme that mostly targeted the elderly, the Canadian Jewish News reported. She spent four years in an American prison.

Israeli citizens are barred from visiting enemy states including Syria and Iraq, and the government has been cracking down on Arab-Israelis returning from fighting in those countries.