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New Zealand to accept Islamic State-linked woman

New Zealand announced Monday it would accept a woman linked to the Islamic State group and her two children, after Australia cancelled the former dual national's citizenship.

The New Zealand-born woman -- widely identified as Suhayra Aden -- moved to Australia at age six and was a dual national until Canberra stripped her of citizenship last year.

At the time, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said "terrorists who fought with terrorism organisations" forfeited the privilege of citizenship.

Aden moved from Australia to Syria in 2014 and lived under the Islamic State.

The 26-year-old told news organisation ABC at a Syrian refugee camp in 2019 that she had been married to two Swedish Islamic State fighters.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said cancelling her citizenship would leave them stateless.

"They are not Turkey's responsibility, and with Australia refusing to accept the family, that makes them ours," she said in a statement Monday.

Ardern, who previously hit out at Canberra for "abdicating responsibility" in the case, said the woman and her children would now be returned to New Zealand at Turkey's request.

While not revealing details about the arrangements, the PM said "great care" was being taken to minimise any risk to New Zealanders.

"Planning by agencies has been twofold -– to ensure all appropriate steps are in place to address potential security concerns and to have the right services in place to support reintegration, with particular focus on the wellbeing of the children," she said.

Aden and her children have been held in Turkey since crossing the border from Syria in February.

After detaining the family, the Turkish defence ministry identified her as a "Daesh terrorist" and said they had been caught trying to enter illegally.

Topics: New Zealand , Australia , Jacinda Ardern , Scott Morrison , Suhayra Aden
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