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'Shocked' family of IS bride call for UK to bring her home

Sky News logo Sky News 15/02/2019

WATCH: Father of London teen pleads for her return from IS (HuffPost UK)

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The family of IS bride Shamima Begum say they are "shocked" by her comments to a newspaper and want the UK government to help bring her home.

Pregnant Shamima Begum was a 15-year-old schoolgirl when she fled Britain and joined Islamic State in Syria four years ago.

Now aged 19, she has told British media she does not regret leaving the UK and travelling to the terrorists' caliphate, and wants to come back so her baby can be looked after.

Speaking at refugee camp in northern Syria, Shamima Begum has revealed she is going to give birth to her baby "any day now", having married a young Dutch IS fighter called Yago Riedijk three weeks after she arrived in the country in 2015.

a group of people standing in a room: Kadiza Sultana (L), Shamima Begum (C) and Amira Abase left for Syria in 2015 © PA Kadiza Sultana (L), Shamima Begum (C) and Amira Abase left for Syria in 2015

And her assertion she is "not the same silly little 15-year-old schoolgirl who ran away from Bethnal Green four years ago" has been highlighted as a cause for concern by some.

"I don't regret coming here", she said.

The teenager fled the UK with two other friends, Kadiza Sultana and Amira Abase, and said she has been living "a normal life" in the caliphate, interrupted by "bombing and stuff".

Kadiza Sultana was reported to have been killed in an airstrike in 2016.

Speaking confidently and seemingly without any fear for her situation, Shamima Begum told The Times she had never seen an execution during her time with IS, "but I saw a beheaded head in the bin".

"It didn't faze me at all," she added.

a person posing for the camera: Shamima Begum wants to come back to the UK © Rex Features Shamima Begum wants to come back to the UK She also said she had two other children during her time with IS but they both died at a young age due to illness.

In a statement, her family said: "We, the family of Shamima Begum, have taken a few days to process all that has happened in the past years, and indeed in the last 72 hours.

"The news that Shamima is alive and well has come as a shock to the entire family.

"We had lost all hope of ever seeing her again. We are relieved to know that she has been able to escape from IS territory. This in itself was a huge risk because if she had been caught that would have meant imprisonment and death at the hands of ISIS.

WATCH: Interview with Bethnal Green schoolgirl who fled to join IS (Evening Standard)

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"We like everyone else were utterly shocked by what we heard Shamima say in her interview with The Times. But to us, those are the words of a girl who was groomed at the age of 15; we are also mindful that Shamima is currently in a camp surrounded by IS sympathisers and any comments by her could lead directly to danger to her and her child.

"Given Shamima's four-year ordeal, we are concerned that her mental health has been affected by everything that she has seen and endured."

They added: "Now, we are faced with the situation of knowing that Shamima's two young children have died - children that we will never come to know as a family. This is the hardest of news to bear. The welfare of Shamima's unborn baby is of paramount concern to our family, and we will do everything within our power to protect that baby who is entirely blameless in these events.

"As a British citizen, Shamima has every expectation to be returned to the UK and be dealt with under the British justice system. Shamima's child who will also be British has every right as a total innocent to have the chance to grow up in the peace and security of his home.

a close up of a person: Shamima Begum was a 15-year-old schoolgirl when she left for Syria in 2015 © Getty Shamima Begum was a 15-year-old schoolgirl when she left for Syria in 2015 "We welcome an investigation in what she did while she was there under the principles of British justice and would request the British government assist us in returning Shamima and her child to the UK as a matter of urgency."

Home Secretary Sajid Javid has said he "will not hesitate" to prevent the return of the British teenager.

And the head of MI6 has implied she is "potentially very dangerous".

While not commenting on Shamima Begum's case specifically, intelligence service chief Alex Younger said that someone who had been in "that sort of position" was likely to have acquired certain "skills or connections".

In pictures: Inside the IS tunnel network (Reuters)

Such an individual cannot be stopped if they decide to return to the UK, he added, but public safety was the first priority.

More Britons who joined Islamic State - mainly women - are believed to have been identified at Syrian camps in the last few days.

Sky sources say it is only thought to be a small number but there could be more British nationals who have yet to be identified.

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