ISIS Claims, Kurds Deny Capture of Canadian-Israeli Fighter
Jihadist websites on Sunday reported that Gila Rosenberg, the Canadian who served in the IDF and volunteered to help Kurdish forces fighting against ISIS in Syria, was abducted by ISIS militants, Israel’s Ch. 2 News reported. There has been no official confirmation of the report.
However, two Kurdish sources – one a senior member of the fighters – cast doubt on the report, according to Israel Radio. One said she was not even in the area of Kobane, along the Turkish border, where first reports claimed she was abducted.
“I decided to do my part in the Kurdish national effort,” Rosenberg, 31, and a former IDF soldier, said in a telephone interview with Israel Radio earlier this month.
“I’m on the Iraq-Syria border, and we’re currently about 3,000 meters from ISIS,” she told a radio interviewer during the call. “I was given an RPG by the Kurdish army.”
Rosenberg joined up with the Kurds via the internet, similar to hundreds of foreign fighters who opted to join ISIS’ ranks in recent months, including Israeli Arabs, some of whom are facing jail terms.
“I found them via Facebook, and told them I wanted to volunteer, and went to Iraq,” she said.
Rosenberg left Tel Aviv about a month ago, and made her way to Erbil, in northern Iraq. From there, she traveled to the Syrian border, where she began the training process prior to taking up arms in the battle.
She told Israel Radio that she decided to aid the Kurds because “they are our brothers, and are a good, life-affirming people – like us,” she said, and added that she felt she could contribute from her military experience in the Israeli army.
Rosenberg told well wishers on her Facebook page last month to “Remember, life is beautiful,” in what may have been the last sign of life from her.
She added that “In the [Israeli] army we say ‘Acharai – after me’ – let’s show ISIS what it means.”
Rosenberg, who in her previous life in Canada was a civil aviation pilot, emigrated to Israel in 2006.
In 2009, in an FBI sting operation with Israeli police, US authorities charged her with taking part in a $25 million international phone scam to bilk elderly Americans out of pension savings. She was extradited to the US, stood trial, was convicted and served four years, according to reports. She was later deported, and returned to Israel.