Exclusive videos: widow of Belgian Syria fighter takes up arms herself

The widow of the Belgian Syria fighter Tarik Taketloune has put two movies on the internet that show her while she is learning to shoot — videos that we exclusively obtained.  The young woman followed her husband to Syria in May, witnessed how he was killed in June, and now apparently prepares to fight herself.


Nora Verhoeven (19) was born in Brussels as the daughter of a Belgian father and a mother of Moroccan descent. Her family did not much adhere to religion, but for her that changed during her now 2,5 years old relationship with Taketloune.

Taketloune (20) was a follower of the radical ‘Shariah4Belgium’ organization and travelled to Syria in September 2012 in order to fight. It is unclear which militia he joined, but it’s known that most of the Belgian Syria fighters chose for radical jihadist groups.

In April 2013 a first attempt of ‘Oum Khattab’ — as Verhoeven is calling herself — to follow in his footsteps failed. But in May she succeeded. Barely three weeks after their reunification though, Taketloune was killed by an unknown group of armed men that raided their Aleppo hideout.

Verhoeven herself was injured, but she survived the attack. She told her mother about it in a phone call and said she wanted to stay in Syria “to do the good thing”. After several months of silence, she restarted to post messages and pictures on her Facebook account in November 2013.

One of her most recent messages was an advice to her friends: “Avoid the evil, because one day it all will be over.” And as told above, she also showed herself practising with fire arms — a hand gun and an Austrian made Steyr AUG assault rifle.

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