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New Zealand to allow IS-linked mother to be repatriated

media captionIslamic State children in Syria face a lifetime in prison

A woman suspected of being an Islamic State (IS) member can be repatriated from Turkey, New Zealand says.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the decision to allow the 26-year-old and her two young children to return was not “taken lightly”.

The woman grew up in New Zealand and Australia and held citizenship in both countries until Australia revoked it last year.

Ms Arden added that great care would be taken to minimise any risk for New Zealanders.

The woman had been caught entering Turkey from Syria with her children.

She had left for Syria in 2014 on an Australian passport.

Canberra stripped the woman of citizenship last year, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison calling her “an enemy of our country”.

Earlier this year, Ms Ardern hit out at that decision, saying the woman should return to Australia – where she had spent most of her childhood and adult life.

But on Monday she said New Zealand had no choice but to take in the woman, as it was the only place she could legally reside.

“They are not Turkey’s responsibility, and with Australia refusing to accept the family, that makes them ours,” Ms Ardern said.

It is up to the police to choose if the woman should face a criminal investigation upon her return, she added.

This is not the first time governments have struggled with decisions on what to do with citizens who have been named as terror suspects.

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