Two Children From Bradford Family Believed To Have Travelled To Syria Not On Turkey Flight

Two children from the family of 12 who are believed to have travelled to Syria to join extremists are not recorded as having boarded the flight to the Turkey.

Fears are growing for the safety of the three Bradford sisters and their nine children who went missing after travelling to Turkey following a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.

Khadija Dawood, 30, Sugra Dawood, 34, and Zohra Dawood, 33, whose children are aged between three and 15, disappeared after going on a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia last month.

Image appears to show some of the Dawood family at the airport leaving the UK for Saudi Arabia. (L-R) Junaid Ahmed Iqbal, Ibrahim Iqbal, Zaynab Iqbal, Ismaeel Iqbal and Mariya Iqbal are believed to be pictured

The missing children are believed to be Muhammad Haseeb, 5, Maryam Siddiqui, 7, Ismaeel Iqbal, 3, Mariya Iqbal, 5, Zaynab Iqbal, 8, Ibrahim Iqbal, 14, Junaid Ahmed Iqbal, 15, Haafiyah Binte Zubair, 8 and five-year-old Nurah Binte Zubair.

The family travelled to Medina on May 28.

It is believed that 10 of them boarded the later flight to Istanbul, but no details have been found indicating that five-year-old Nurah Zubair and her sister Haafiyah Zubair, eight, boarded the same flight.

They were due back in the UK last Thursday but there has been no contact from any of the family since 9 June.

Since then, the family's mobile phones have been turned off and Facebook and WhatsApp profiles have not been updated.

The children's fathers are said to be "distraught" and there is a real concern that their lives are in danger.

Balaal Khan, a lawyer acting for the fathers of the missing children, said it is understood the sisters have a relative fighting for either Islamic State (IS), also known as Isis or Isil, or another extremist group in Syria, and it is feared they have met up with him.

He said: "They are concerned that their children's lives are in danger.

"The concern is for the well-being and safety of the children. The fathers are distraught, they feel helpless and they don't now what to do. They want the children out of harm's way."

He added: "One of the possibilities is they travelled to Turkey to travel to Syria. The suspicion, and main concern, is that the women have taken their children to Syria."

According to the solicitors, it is thought the group travelled to Syria where a brother of the three sisters is understood to be fighting with extremists. It is feared they have met up with him.

Mr Khan said police were notified five or six days ago, but are limited in what they can do because it is out of their jurisdiction.

MP for Bradford West, Naz Shah, told Sky News that the problem in the community needed to be routed out in order to safeguard vulnerable people in the area.

She said: "This is a poison in our community. This is an absolute poison that we need to route out.

"So we can't just pretend it's not happening and say 'well it's up to them if they want to go then go'.

"I think the concerns are for our children here that if these people have been exposed and are vulnerable to that then how many others have been exposed and are vulnerable to that?"

Naz Shah, MP for Bradford West, told Sky News that the 'poison' needed to be routed out of the community

A West Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said the force had been supporting the family, adding that officers started an investigation to establish their whereabouts and were "working extensively with authorities overseas to try and locate them".

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: "We are in contact with West Yorkshire Police and Turkish authorities and our ready to provide consular assistance."

Community leaders called for more to be done to tackle the radicalisation of teenagers online after 17-year-old Talha Asmal, from Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, was reported to have become Britain's youngest suicide bomber.

Also, Thomas Evans, a Muslim convert from Buckinghamshire, is believed to have died in Kenya fighting for extremist group Al Shabaab.

In Dewsbury, people expressed their shock after the news emerged that Talha, who was alleged to have fled his home in March to join IS, reportedly detonated a vehicle fitted with explosives while fighting for the group in Iraq.

An image apparently of Asmal that was uploaded to Twitter

The teenager's family said he had been exploited by extremists on the internet "in a process of deliberate and calculated grooming".

Qari Asim, an imam at the Makkah Mosque in Leeds, said recruitment was mainly taking place online.

He said: "Isis have been running a very sophisticated social media campaign in order to showcase a romantic, utopian world that they are establishing in Iraq."

He added: "We need to really up our game, reclaim some of the cyberspace and that's what Imams Online are doing, imams from across the country have come together to really reclaim some of that space online by showcasing the true reality of Isis and also really sending a positive message about the true teachings of Islam."

However, Mr Asim said radicalisation was not isolated to the internet.

He said: "The majority of radicalisation and brainwashing takes place online but I think it would be wrong to say actually it doesn't take place offline because it's pretty much like paedophiles, they will use all sorts of opportunities to their avail to groom people."

David Cameron's official spokeswoman said the Prime Minister is "clear that the case is deeply concerning".

The former reviewer of anti-terrorism legislation, Lord Carlile, called on the Government to work with computer programmers and social media companies to counter extremist propaganda online.

"It's hard to counter, but one does have to use the same tools, the same thought processes, that do radicalise people," said the Liberal Democrat peer.

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the country's most senior police officer, spoke of the varied nature of the threat faced by the UK.

The Met Police Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, said the UK faces a varied threat from terrorists radicalising people from within the country

The Metropolitan Police Commissioner said: "Today's terrorist may of course be a hardened member of an organised terrorist 'cell', but may very well also be a lone disaffected youth radicalised by extremist material on his home computer.

"Some of those travelling to Syria are fulfilling a long-standing jihadi ambition. But others who travel to Syria are youngsters fooled by propaganda - out of their depth and running out of time.

"The police must find a way to deal with both."

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