Gillian Rosenberg

White Rock pilot: Ignore the reports I’ve been captured by ISIS

Social media commenters were quick to refute claims that 31-year-old Gillian Rosenberg was taken captive in Syria.

A former White Rock resident described as the first foreign woman to join in the fight against ISIS was reportedly captured over the weekend.

But proof that Gillian Rosenberg, 31, is in the custody of the Middle East extremists is yet to emerge.

And a Facebook post early Monday afternoon, purportedly by Rosenberg, unequivocally refutes the claims.

“Guys, I’m totally safe and secure. I don’t have Internet access or any communication devices with me for my safety and security,” notes the status update. “I can’t reply regularly and only happened to have a chance to log in and see these (inaccurate) news stories. Ignore the reports I’ve been captured. Yalla, Acharai!”

Various media had been reporting that Rosenberg was captured by members of ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) in Syria. However, links and comments on Rosenberg’s Facebook page were also quick to dispute the claims.

“As I said before Gill Rosenberg is safe and all the allegations about her kidnap are unfounded,” writes Oliver Brimo early Dec. 1. “A short time ago the head of #YPG forces in #Kobani refuted categorically these allegations.”

Late Monday morning, Chris Levy writes, “She is safe!!!!! Friends and family of Gill Rosenberg you can breath a sigh of relief that she is alive and well.”

ISIS has been designated a terrorist organization by the United Nations.

In a news release last month, the UN security council condemned the group, and emphasized it “must be defeated and that the intolerance, violence and hatred it espouses must be stamped out.”

Rosenberg – who ran for Surrey council as a teenager in 2002, describing the city’s social policy as “a terrible failure” – reportedly only recently joined Kurdish forces in the fight against ISIS.

According to reports, she first emigrated to Israel in 2006, then was extradited to the U.S. for her role in a lottery scam.

A July 2009 FBI press release names a Gillian Rosenberg as among 11 people arrested in Israel on charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud through telemarketing in connection with a lottery scheme that targeted elderly U.S. residents.

According to Rosenberg’s Facebook posts, she travelled “home” to Tel Aviv, Israel this past summer after five years in New York, and arrived in Erbil, Iraq on Nov. 2.

On Nov. 20, Rosenberg wrote that she would be without access to the Internet until “on or around” the week of Dec. 8. Until then, the account is being managed by someone else.

“Please do not message as this is not me,” she writes.

Rosenberg studied aviation at BCIT after graduating from Vancouver Talmud Torah School.

She was first featured in the Peace Arch News in March 2001, after flying to Rome with then-White Rock mayor Hardy Staub.

Staub, a pilot, recalled Monday that he was approached by Rosenberg’s mother to take the 17-year-old as part of an assignment requiring the teen to spend a few hours observing professionals in careers of interest.

After the five-day trip, Rosenberg told PAN she had dreamed of being a pilot since she was a little girl.

Her mom, Lynda, recalled at the time that her daughter, on any flights they took, would always ask her to ask the stewardess if she could sit in the cockpit.

“I remember her going up there when she was five years old, watching the pilot and talking to him about his job,” she told PAN.

Just days before the flight with Staub, Rosenberg learned she’d been accepted to Emby-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Ariz. She was to be one of just a few women to attend, and the first practising Jewish student on campus.

She told PAN she’d been assured her gender would be an advantage, simply because of the demand for women in aviation.

Lynda Rosenberg predicted her daughter would go far – in more ways than one.

“I don’t think it’s just taking off to Arizona for four years,” she said at the time.

“I think Gillian will never come back to live in Canada.”

Gillian Rosenberg said her career choice was not motivated by money.

“I want to do something that I love,” she said.

Staub told PAN this week that he heard on Sunday that Rosenberg had been captured, when he was contacted by an Israeli reporter who asked for help locating Lynda Rosenberg.

Staub said that if the news reports were true, “the outlook doesn’t look healthy.”

Shortly before Rosenberg’s latest update, the Jerusalem Post described reports of her capture as “probably the terrorists’ propaganda.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Proposed Marine Drive zone aims to make use of small lots ‘more efficient’

CR-3A zone discussed during White Rock’s first virtual public information meeting

Surrey-area associations gear up for hockey restart

But it’s not yet clear when city-operated rinks and rec centres will reopen

White Rock calls for street-banner artists

Deadline to apply is 4 p.m. July 24

Rugby practices to return to Lower Mainland fields this fall

B.C. Rugby announced its return to play plan July 7

Surrey Mounties seize shotgun, ammo, after officers shot at with BB gun in Newton

Police say they were on foot patrol in the 6400-block of King George Boulevard when someone fired at them with a BB gun

The pandemic is widening Canada’s workplace gender gap

Gender pay gap is incentivizing fathers to work while mothers watch children, a new B.C. study has found

Investigation clears RCMP in incident where man fell from Langley overpass

‘Officers acted commendably and placed themselves at risk’ police watchdog report finds

Ex-Okanagan Mountie forfeits 20 days’ pay after sexual misconduct review

A former Vernon RCMP constable made sexual comments, grabbed genitals of male officer in two incidents 10 years ago

Rural Chilliwack residents asked to stay indoors, lock doors amid heavy police presence

Heavy police presence in rural Chilliwack neighbourhood as RCMP contend with ‘serious situation’

Man found dead on Okanagan trail identified as Hollywood actor

GoFundMe campaign launched for man found dead at summit of Spion Kop

3 people dead in Prince George motel fire

Fire personnel believe the blaze was suspicious although investigation in early stages

B.C. sets terms to review police, mental health, race relations

MLAs to recommend Police Act changes by May 2021

Feds announce $8.3M to deal with ‘ghost’ fishing gear in B.C. waters

Ghost gear accounts for up to 70 per cent of all macro-plastics in the ocean by weight

Most Read

l -->