Mum says toddler taken to Syria by Isis dad

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Arabic graffiti on a wall in Iraq reads "Death to Islamic State" (Isis). Photo: Haidar Hamdani/AFP/Getty Images
16:30 CET+01:00
A mother has claimed to have recognized her three-year-old boy in photos distributed on jihadist forums promoting terrorist organization Isis (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria), more than a year after he disappeared from northern Italy.

Lidia Solana Herrera, who was born in Cuba, claims her son Ismail Mesinovic was kidnapped by her estranged husband and son’s father, Ismar Mesinovic, from her home in Belluno in northern Italy in November 2013.

Mesinovic, a Bosnian native, is alleged to have taken the child with him when he left Italy and volunteered to fight for Isis in Syria. The father has reportedly been killed in the conflict.

An emotional Herrera has told Italy’s Corriere della Sera she recognized the child dressed in black Isis uniform and a headscarf inscribed in Arabic through photos that have been distributed via social media networks. In another picture the child is shown carrying a small machine gun.

“That child is Ismail,” Herrera said. “I pray every day that he will be brought back to me. I hope that he will come back here beside me. I think only of him, only him.”

Herrera said she was separated from her husband and she was not suspicious when he took Ismail a year ago while she visited her relatives in Cuba, as he had previously taken the child outside Italy to visit his relatives in Bosnia and Germany.

Investigators from Italy’s anti-terrorism police in Padua and members of the secret services are now involved in the investigation regarding the child’s disappearance, according to the Italian daily La Repubblica.

The newspaper said police were conducting inquiries into a network of Islamists allegedly active in the Veneto region in northern Italy.

“I never had the faintest suspicion my husband was a terrorist,” Herrera said.

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“When I knew they had left for Syria it was like everything around me fell apart. My little one in Syria...You can only imagine how a mother feels in front of news like that.”

SEE ALSO: Most Italian jihadis with Isis aren't immigrants

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