Monday, October 06, 2014

Two British jihadis thought to be among scores of prisoners traded by Turkey for hostages captured by the Islamic State

  • Shabazz Suleman, 18, and Hisham Folkard, 36, thought to have been traded
  • Said to be among 180 fighters exchanged by Turkey in return for hostages
  • ISIS believed to have released 46 Turkish citizens and three local Iraqi staff

Former grammar school pupil Shabazz Suleman, 18, and Hisham Folkard, 26, are understood to be among as many as 180 fighters exchanged by Turkey in the deal.

In return, the terror group has released 46 Turkish citizens and three local Iraqi staff who were captured when IS stormed the Iraqi city of Mosul five months ago.

Hisham Folkardis, 26, is said to be one of two British jihadis who have been handed back to ISIS by Turkey in return for the release of diplomats
Shabazz Suleman, 18, a former pupil at the Royal Grammar School in High Wycombe, is said to be one of two British jihadists who have been handed back to ISIS by Turkey in an exchange for the release of diplomats
Shabazz Suleman, 18, (right) a former pupil at the Royal Grammar School in High Wycombe, and Hisham Folkardis, 26, (left) are said to be the two British jihadists who have been handed back to ISIS by Turkey

The Times has seen a leaked list of names, including the two Britons, that has been confirmed by IS sources.

It is not known whether the two British men were captured by Turkish forces during fighting or whether they had been trying to escape Islamic State.

Shabazz Suleman, 18, a pupil at the Royal Grammar School in High Wycombe, had reportedly given his parents the slip to cross the border while on holiday in Turkey. He had a place lined up at a top university after achieving good A-level results this summer.
He had previously travelled to the Syrian border with an aid convoy last summer.

The deal is understood to have been brokered through complex talks with tribes and rebel militia. 

Three French citizens, two Swedes, two Macedonians, one Swiss, and one Belgian are also believed to have been part of the exchange.

British teacher David Bolam, 63, who has been held by militants in Libya since May has been released
British teacher David Bolam, 63, who has been held by militants in Libya since May has been released
The devout Roman Catholic father of Hisham Folkard, who asked not to be named, said he last had contact with his son in early August, after officers from the north-east counter-terrorism unit inquired about his elder son Omar.

He told The Times: ‘I’m not surprised. I see the stories about these boys on TV every week. Of course it’s different [that it’s my son], but I hardly knew either of them. 

'Their mother took them away. When she let them go to Yemen to study Islam I cut them off completely.’

It is reported that Hisham’s older brother Omar Folkard is known the security services and his passport surfaced in Mali. Detectives looking for Hisham have not ruled out that his elder brother was using his passport in Turkey. 

It also emerged yesterday that a British teacher held hostage by militants in Libya was released after a ransom was paid. 

David Bolam, 63, was abducted in May while out shopping. Last month he appeared in a harrowing video begging David Cameron to help save him but his identity was not revealed at the request of the Government.

The release of Mr Bolam, from Shropshire, who is principal at the International School in Benghazi, on Thursday follows months of negotiations with the help of local political factions. 

Last night the Foreign Office said it did not support the payment of ransoms and was not involved in the negotiations. 

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