Tunisia remains reluctant to take women and children of IS militants back home

Babies of the IS caliphate languish in limbo, prison

Almost the only home this toddler has known is a Libyan prison. He already marked one birthday there and in a few days will reach another, turning 3. He is an orphan of the caliphate: His parents, both Islamic State group members, were killed in an airstrike, the Associated Press reported.

Tamim Jaboudi is among hundreds of children fathered by the Islamic State’s foreign fighters or brought to the self-proclaimed caliphate by their parents who are now imprisoned or in limbo with nowhere to go, collateral victims as the militant group retreats and home countries hesitate to take them back, the AP added.

According to AP, since his parents were killed in February 2016, Tamim has been living among some two dozen Tunisian women and their children in Tripoli’s Mitiga prison, raised by a woman who herself willingly joined the Islamic State group. The captives are under guard by a militia that tightly controls access to the group, despite repeatedly claiming they have no interest in preventing their return home.

“What is this young child’s sin that he is in jail with criminals?” asked Faouzi Trabelsi, the boy’s grandfather who has traveled twice to Libya trying to retrieve the boy and twice returned home emptyhanded. “If he grows up there, what kind of attitude will he have toward his homeland?” The AP added.

AP added that European governments and experts have documented at least 600 children of foreign fighters who live in or have returned from IS territory in Syria, Iraq or Libya. But the numbers are likely far higher.

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