Israeli Canadian woman said to deny capture by Islamic State

Israeli-Canadian woman -- or someone using her Facebook account -- denies capture by Islamic State

After 24 hours of swirling rumors of her capture by Islamic State, an Israeli Canadian woman who joined Kurdish fighters in Syria appears to have surfaced on Facebook to dispel the reports.

“Guys, I’m totally safe and secure.... Ignore the reports I’ve been captured,” wrote Gill Rosenberg, or someone with access to her account.

The post signed off with her signature "acharai"- Hebrew for "follow me," a rallying battle call used in the Israeli army, in which the woman served.

On Sunday, the U.S.-based intelligence group SITE reported that a known Jihadi media forum claimed Islamic State had captured a “female Zionist soldier” in Kobane, Syria, sparking speculation the alleged captive was Rosenberg.

She recently caused a stir in Israel when she went to Syria to join the Kurdish peshmerga fighters who are defending Kurdish regions of Iraq and Syria from the Islamic State. She was said to have been the first foreign woman and first Israeli to join the peshmerga.

Kurdish sources on Monday insisted that the report of her capture was false, saying she was nearly 200 miles away from Kobane, a town on the Turkish border that has been the site of a fierce battle with Islamic State.

The governments of Canada and Israel were trying to obtain further information about the whereabouts of the dual national, officials from both countries said. An Israeli government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Tuesday that the government "doesn't dispute" the basic details of Rosenberg's story.

According to various reports, Rosenberg, 31, is a Canadian-born Jew who moved to Israel in the last decade after a short career as a civil aviator, reportedly with hopes of becoming an army pilot.

Her Facebook page lists her as a resident of Tel Aviv and boasts a cover picture from the airport of Irbil, the capital of the Kurdish region of Iraq. Posts in early November detailed her unusual journey from Israel through Jordan and Iraq to join the Kurdish fighters.

Sobelman is a special correspondent

Copyright © 2018, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World