Syria probe teenager bailed

Published: Tuesday 17th March 2015 by The News Editor

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An 18-year-old arrested on suspicion of preparing to travel to Syria to join Islamic State has been bailed.

West Midlands Police said he had been released with stringent conditions and would return for further questioning in April.

He was detained by officers from the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit early on Monday morning, on suspicion of preparing for terrorists acts contrary to section 5 of the Terrorism Act.

It follows the arrest of a 19-year-old man and two 17-year-old boys from north-west London on Saturday, on suspicion of preparing terrorist acts.

The three were stopped by officials in Turkey as they tried to travel to Syria and returned to the UK over the weekend.

They have since been bailed while investigations continue.

Prime Minister David Cameron has said young people travelling to join Islamic State are “deeply misguided” after this fresh wave of arrests over Syria-related terror offences.

Asked about the London trio, Mr Cameron said yesterday it was right they had been detained by counter terror officers.

He also spoke of his hopes three girls who fled Bethnal Green in east London, apparently destined for Syria, would return home.

Mr Cameron said: “I think they are deeply misguided and they are potentially going to join a criminal organisation which could make them part of a criminal or terrorist conspiracy.

“We want to get them back and try to get this radical nonsense out of their heads.”

He said the fact British teenagers would “opt to go” and join “death cult” Islamic State was something the country should be “really worried about”.

The families of two of the three London teenagers arrested reportedly raised the alarm to police, leading to all three being detained by the Turkish authorities.

On Friday police were made aware the two younger boys had gone missing and were believed to be travelling to Syria.

Inquiries revealed they had travelled with a third person, the 19-year-old man.

The families of the younger boys alerted officers when the pair did not return from Friday prayers, according to reports.

The three are reported to have travelled to Spain before taking a flight to Turkey – a route taken by Hayat Boumedienne, the widow of one of the terrorists who carried out the attacks in Paris in January – though the Foreign Office could not confirm this.

It comes just weeks after an international manhunt was launched to find the three London schoolgirls who travelled to Istanbul on their journey to Syria.

However, Shamima Begum, 15, Amira Abase, also 15, and Kadiza Sultana, 16, who are pupils at Bethnal Green Academy, are now feared to have reached the conflict zone to become so-called “jihadi brides” with Islamic State.

Their families appealed for them to come home immediately, saying they felt their loss “more acutely” on Mother’s Day.

About 600 Britons are believed to have travelled to Syria and Iraq since the conflict began.

Sajda Mughal, director of the JAN Trust which offers workshops to Muslim parents on the dangers of online radicalisation, said: “Whilst these cases are coming out in the media and people become aware, this is not enough to tackle the issue of radicalisation.

“What is required is that Muslim homes across the UK must be educated on the issue and online radicalisation to take ownership and so that they can safeguard their children.”

Published: Tuesday 17th March 2015 by The News Editor

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