Funeral held for female Westerner killed fighting ISIS

This content is not available due to your privacy preferences.
Update your settings here to see it.

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.

More on
Slain Philadelphia officer 'redefined what valor means'
New Zealand confronts violent past, gives new hope to Maori
Family, friends mourn young Wisconsin man shot by police
Iraqi Kurds claim Islamic State group used chemical weapon