Three British teenagers were deported from Turkey and have been arrested by London police after being suspected of fleeing Britain to join Islamic State militants in Syria.
After a tip-off from British authorities, the boys, two aged 17 and one 19, were detained in Istanbul on Friday and their plan to join ISIS was foiled.
According to the Metropolitan Police, after the two 17-year-olds from a north-west London address were reported missing with an intent to travel to Syria, counterterrorism officers were alerted.
The police later discovered that the boys had travelled to Turkey with a 19 year-old man.
“Enquiries revealed that they had travelled with a third male, aged 19 years,” a Metropolitan spokesman said.
“Officers alerted the Turkish authorities who were able to intercept all three males, preventing travel to Syria. They remain in detention in Turkey. The families have been kept informed of developments.”
Reuters reports that the boys were then flown back to Britain late on Saturday, when they were arrested “on suspicion of preparation of terrorist acts”. They are currently being held at a London police station.
This arrest comes at a time when some countries are seeing their teenagers and young adults fleeing their home to join the terrorist organization in Syria. Officials have estimated that at least 500 people from the U.K. have traveled to fight in Syria, including 50 women.
One of the most recent and publicized defectors were three teenage girls from Bethnal Green Academy school in east London who somehow evaded Turkish authorities and ended up joining ISIS in Syria.
The International Business Times reports that Shamima Begum, 15, used her 17-year-old sister’s passport to travel – along with Amira Abada, 15, and Kadiza Sultana, 16, all of whom disappeared after boarding a plane from Gatwick airport to Turkey on February 17.
Later, CCTV footage emerged showing the British schoolgirls at a bus station in Istanbul en route to Syria
Similarly, earlier this month, two Australian brothers, ages 16 and 17, were detained at Sydney airport after officials believed the teenage pair were planning to travel to the Middle East to join ISIS.
According to NY Daily News, officials stated that the boys had become radicalized jihadists over the Internet and their parents were “as shocked as any of us would be” when they were informed that their children had planned to leave their home to join the terrorist group.
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