Funeral held for female Westerner killed fighting ISIS

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Funeral held for female Westerner killed fighting ISIS
Mourners gathered in Germany to commemorate the death of the first known female volunteer from the West to die fighting ISIS.
This undated image released by the Kurdish Peoples Protection Units, known as the YPG, on Monday, March 9, 2015 shows Ivana Hoffman, 19, a German citizen fighting with Kurdish militiamen who was killed Saturday battling the Islamic State group near the village of Tel Tamr, Syria, according to Kurdish officials and activists. Hoffman, born in Germany to South African parents, is the third foreign national — and the first female foreign fighter — known to be killed fighting with Kurdish forces against the Islamic State group.(AP Photo/YPG)

Much has been made of people leaving the U.S., Europe and other Western countries to join ISIS, but in Duisburg, Germany this weekend, thousands gathered to commemorate a German woman who had fallen fighting the terrorist group.

Nineteen-year-old Ivana Hoffman died fighting ISIS alongside a Kurdish militia last week during a battle in northern Syria.

Although she is the first known Western woman to have died fighting the group, she was one of possibly 100 Western volunteers who've joined the effort against them, according to the BBC, which has reported extensively on British volunteers, including a former Royal Marine who died in fighting earlier this month.

Although many of the volunteers who have been interviewed cite ISIS' atrocities as their main reason for joining the fight, their specific motivations seem diverse. Some, like this 28-year-old Detroit native who spoke to ABC, cited religious reasons.

"Jesus says, you know, what you do unto the least of them, you do unto me, and I take that very seriously. I take that to heart," the man told ABC.

Others, like Hoffman, joined for political reasons. She was a member of Turkey's Marxist-Leninist Communist Party, which has reportedly been sending volunteers to fight for the Kurds.

Not everyone makes it to the battlefield in the first place, though. British authorities this week arrested a woman who was allegedly trying to join a Kurdish militia the European Union recognizes as a terrorist group.

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