Sabina Selimovic and Samra Kesinovic

Sabina Selimovic (c. 16 February 1999 – ?),[1] and Samra Kesinovic (c. 25 September 1997 – ?),[2] were two teenaged Austrian nationals who at the height of the ascendancy of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant militia's conquests in the Middle East in April 2014, abandoned their family homes in Central Europe and illicitly travelled to Syria to join it. Their actions drew substantial media commentary due to the ongoing media reports of en masse barbarity that the Islamic State forces were engaging in, and raised questions as to why people of European extraction would be drawn to such an entity.


Selimovic and Kesinovic were born in Austria to Bosniak immigrants who had fled the Bosnian War in the 1990s. Both girls were residents with their families in stable homes in Vienna, and are believed to have become interested in the Islamic State after watching its broadcast propaganda on the Internet, and through their attendance at a mosque in Vienna.[3]

Departure to join the Islamic StateEdit

In April 2014, the pair left their homes in Vienna illicitly, without telling their families of their intentions,[4] leaving a note for their parents stating: "Don't look for us. We will serve Allah and we will die for him."[5] They then travelled via Turkey to Syria, entering it through its Northern border, wherein they entered Islamic State controlled territory. The pair later posted photographs from Islamic State territory on social media websites for Jihadist propaganda, wearing burqas and brandishing machine guns.[4]

Information obtained by the French news magazine Paris Match shortly afterwards disclosed that the two girls had been married to two Chechen Jihadists, and that they had expressed fears of imprisonment back in Austria for their activities on social media as Islamic State propagandists should they return home.[6]

Purported deathsEdit

Selimovic and Kesinovic were subsequently reported to be seeking a means of returning to Austria around October 2014,[5] though other media reports stated that Selimovic had been killed around September 2014 at the age of 16 during fighting in Syria.[4]

In late 2015, it was reported by the Middle East bureau of The Daily Telegraph newspaper that Kesinovic had been beaten to death with a hammer towards the end of 2014, after being caught by Islamic State forces whilst trying to escape from sex slavery in the city of Raqqa. She was 15 years old.[7] Recent reports from Austrian media, however, state that the girls are still alive and that their return to Austria may result in imprisonment of up to 15 years.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Selimovic, Sabina". Interpol. Archived from the original on 17 August 2014. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
  2. ^ "Kesinovic, Samra". Interpol. Archived from the original on 17 August 2014. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
  3. ^ 'Teenage Austrian poster girl for the Islamic State killed by the group for trying to escape', 'Daily Telegraph', 30 November 2015.
  4. ^ a b c Nick Squires (15 September 2014). "Austrian teenage girl jihadist 'killed in Syria'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 30 November 2015.
  5. ^ a b "Austrian girls who joined IS 'want to come home'". The Times of Israel. 11 October 2014. Retrieved 30 November 2015.
  6. ^ "Samra a-t-elle été battue à mort par Daech?". Paris Match. 25 November 2015. Retrieved 30 November 2015.
  7. ^ Justin Huggler (25 November 2015). "Teenage Austrian 'poster girl for the Islamic State' killed by group for trying to escape". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 30 November 2015.