Another British teenager was today arrested in Birmingham on suspicion of preparing to travel to Syria to join Islamic State extremists as police stepped up efforts to stop radicalised young Britons from joining the dreaded group.
An 18-year-old youth was arrested from his house this morning by the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit on suspicion of preparing for terrorist acts, a police spokesperson said.
“The operation was pre-planned and intelligence led. There was no immediate threat to public safety,” the spokesperson said.
The arrest was made a day after three other youths, two aged 17 and a 19-year-old, from north-west London, were detained at an Istanbul airport while they were on way to join IS in Syria.
Police were tipped off by the parents of the younger two boys, who became suspicious when their sons - thought to be from Brent’s Pakistani community - did not return home after Friday prayers.
UK Police alerted Turkish authorities, who intercepted the teens and deported them to Britain. The three were questioned on suspicion of preparing terrorist acts, and were let out on bail last night pending further police inquiries.
The security agencies in the UK are making strenuous efforts to stop the flow of radicalised young Britons to the Middle East after they were criticised for failing to prevent three runway London schoolgirls from making the same journey last month.
The three east London schoolgirls Kadiza Sultana, Amira Abase and Shamima Begum are believed to have reached Syria now to become so-called “jihadi brides” for the IS.
The counter-terrorism police today launched a campaign aimed at thwarting IS attempts to recruit young women from Britain.
Police said 22 women and girls have disappeared in the past year and are believed to have gone to Syria.
The new police campaign focuses on mothers and encourages them to have open discussions with their daughters about issues such as travelling to Syria and what they are viewing online.
The new campaign will involve adverts appearing in minority ethnic media across the country.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Helen Ball, counter-terrorism co-ordinator, said police are increasingly concerned about the numbers of young women who have travelled or are intending to travel to Syria.
She said: “It is an extremely dangerous place and the reality of the lifestyle they are greeted with when they arrive is far from that promoted online by terrorist groups.”
“We want to increase families their confidence in the police and partners to encourage them to come forward at the earliest opportunity so that we can intervene and help,” she said.