A picture released by the Dutch police showing the two children who have been kidnapped by their Chechen mother to Syria
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A Chechen mother has taken her two young children to Syria to join Islamic State, Dutch prosecutors have said, in the first known case in the Netherlands of kidnapping by one parent to join the militant group.
The divorced father, a Dutchman, and Dutch authorities were unable to stop the unidentified 33-year-old woman from leaving the country.
They probably travelled across Europe with false passports with the help of foreign recruiters, prosecutors said.
The mother, originally from Russia’s restive southern province of Chechnya, and her two Dutch children, aged seven and eight, had been living in the southern city of Maastricht, but have not been seen since 29 October last year.
The headteacher of the children’s Islamic school alerted the father that the mother had printed plane tickets for herself and the children for flights to Greece. They are now believed to be in Raqqa, an Isis stronghold in north-east Syria.
Prosecutors suspect the woman was helped by others to travel because she managed to dodge an international arrest warrant.
Dozens of families with children have left the Netherlands over the past two years to join Isis, which has seized large areas of Syria and Iraq, but this is the first known case of one parent leaving without the other’s consent.
About a dozen minors have also left the Netherlands on their own to join the Islamic extremist group.
The Dutch justice ministry said 180 Dutch jihadis are known to have left the Netherlands for Syria. About 35 returned and 21 were killed in the civil war, which has left more than 200,000 dead and sent millions more fleeing.