‘Too risky’ to rescue jihadi baby, says Jeremy Hunt

‘Too risky’ to rescue jihadi baby, says Jeremy Hunt

‘Too risky’ to rescue jihadi baby, says Jeremy Hunt

Reema and Zara Iqbal, sisters who between them have five sons under the age of eight, have had their British citizenship removed since marrying Isis fighters in Syria.

But although Mr Hunt called the death "an incredibly distressing and sad situation", he also said that the then 15-year-old was well aware of the risks she was taking when she fled the United Kingdom to join the terrorist group.

But British public sentiment hardened against Begum, who showed little remorse about IS attacks when she spoke to journalists at the refugee camp.

A spokesperson for the Home Office said in a statement to the Evening Standard: "Any decisions to deprive individuals of their citizenship are based on all available evidence and not taken lightly".

The challenge faces other European countries as the final IS stronghold in Syria is on the brink of falling, giving its fighters and their often youthful spouses no place left to hide.

Begum surfaced in a Syrian refugee camp following her escape from the collapsing ISIS "caliphate" and has pleaded to be allowed to return.

"Shamima knew when she made the decision to join Daesh that she was going to a country where there was no embassy, where there was no consular assistance".

The comments by Mr Hunt, the foreign secretary, came as Sajid Javid, the home secretary, faced continued criticism after the death of Shamima Begum's baby in a Syrian camp.

ISIS bride Shamima Begum and her father

The BBC reported that a medical certificate indicated that pneumonia was the cause of death.

The lawyer for the family of Shamima Begum, Mohammed T Akunjee, said: "I can confirm that it is our understanding that Shamima has been moved from Al-Hol due to safety concerns around her and her baby".

Kirsty McNeill, a director at Save the Children UK, said Britain should "take responsibility for their citizens" in Syria to prevent further unnecessary losses.

Opposition Labour MP Diane Abbott said the death of the baby was "a stain on the conscience of this government".

Accusing Mr Javid of "moral cowardice", former director of public prosecutions Lord Macdonald said his move risked creating a "more risky world where stateless individuals roam with no allegiance and the death of unprotected innocents, in this case a vulnerable British baby". Britain had a moral duty to her and to her baby, he said.

Dal Babu, a former Metropolitan Police chief superintendent and friend of Begum's family, told BBC Newsnight: "We've failed, as a country, to safeguard the child".

But he added that Britons had been warned since 2011 not to travel to Syria because of the conflict there. It is possible the death of this baby boy and others could have been avoided.

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