Kurdish special forces rescue Swedish girl from Islamic State

A teenage Swedish girl who was rescued after being held by Islamic State militants in Iraq is seen in this undated handout photo. Social Media

ERBIL, Iraq (Reuters) - A teenage Swedish girl being held by Islamic State militants in Iraq was rescued in a raid by Kurdish special forces last week, the autonomous region’s security council said in a statement on Tuesday.

The 16-year-old traveled from Sweden to Syria last year and later crossed into Iraq, where she was rescued near the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul on Feb. 17 by forces from the Kurdish counter terrorism department, the statement said.

The Kurdish security council identified the rescued teenager as coming from the Swedish town of Boras and said she had been “misled” into making the journey to Syria by an Islamic State member in Sweden.

“The Kurdistan Region Security Council was called upon by Swedish authorities and members of her family to assist in locating and rescuing her from ISIL,” the statement read.

The teenager is currently in the Kurdistan region and will be handed over to Swedish authorities so she can return home once necessary arrangements are made, it added.

Security services estimate that hundreds of Western men and women have left home to join Islamic State since they overran large parts of Iraq and Syria in June 2014.

Earlier this month, a mother who took her 14-month-old son to Syria to join Islamic State fighters was jailed for six years by a British court.

Reporting by Isabel Coles; Editing by Dominic Evans and Raissa Kasolowsky