The Canadian-born woman who has joined Kurdish militants fighting Islamic State was identified on Tuesday as 31-year-old Gill Rosenberg, Israel Radio reported.
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Rosenberg, a resident of Tel Aviv, said she had contacted Kurdish fighters over the Internet before traveling through Iraq to train at one of their camps on the Syrian border.
New details that emerged Tuesday indicate Rosenberg's life was tumultuous even before she hunkered down in the trenches of northern Syria. She was arrested in 2009 in a joint FBI-Israel Police operation on suspicion of being part of a fraud ring that stole money from elderly American citizens by pretending to be lottery representatives, Walla News reported, for which she served time in a U.S. jail.
According to Walla, Rosenberg made aliyah in 2006, leaving behind a career as a civilian pilot, and served for two years in the Israel Defense Forces.
"They are our brothers. They are good people. They love life, a lot like us, really," she told Israel Radio on Monday, explaining her decision to enter the combat zone in northern Syria.
Israel has maintained discreet military, intelligence and business ties with the Kurds since the 1960s, seeing in the minority ethnic group a buffer against shared Arab adversaries. The Kurds are spread through Syria, Iraq, Turkey and Iran. Worried about spillover from the Syrian war, Israel has been cracking down on members of its 20-percent Arab minority who return after volunteering to fight with Islamic State or other rebels opposed to Syrian President Bashar Assad's rule.
An image of Gill Rosenberg, taken from her Facebook page
Gill Rosenberg baking bread with Kurds. Taken from her Facebook page
Gill Rosenberg at the Kotel. Taken from her Facebook page