Twin girls ‘fly to Syria to join jihadi fight’
Teenage runaways take flight to Istanbul and reportedly tell parents they are on way to join brother fighting with Islamic State
By Damien McElroy, Foreign Affairs Correspondent
10:35PM BST 06 Jul 2014
Police believe twin sisters from Manchester left their rooms in the middle of the night to fly to Syria to join the Islamic State jihadists.
The girls, 16, were reported to have fled their home in the middle of the night to catch a plane to Istanbul.
Their parents contacted the teenagers, who refused to come home and claimed they were on their way to Syria where their brother is alleged to be fighting with Islamic State.
Counter-terrorism detectives were on Sunday still struggling to track them down after a 10-day investigation.
“The girls flew from Manchester International Airport to Istanbul. Since their departure the girls have been in contact with their family,” a spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said.
“We are attempting to confirm their current location and secure the well-being of both girls.”
The family, of Somali origin, is believed to have moved to Britain 10 years ago.
Aseel Muthana – a 17-year-old Cardiff militant who made worldwide headlines last month when it emerged that he, his brother Nasser, 20, and friend Reyaad Khan, 20, had joined the Islamist extremist group – has called on others to follow in his path.
In the posting on the social network question-and-answer site ask.fm on an account understood to be that of Muthana, he apparently told a would-be jihadist how he felt “so excited” before leaving for the Middle East.
In one exchange he urges another fanatic to pray “every night” in order to realise a dream of joining him in Syria.