A plane carrying a 15-year-old girl from Tower Hamlets thought to be travelling to join the Syrian conflict, was stopped by police on a runway at Heathrow earlier this month.
It was reported yesterday that the girl, who was returned to her family, had saved money and bought a ticket to Istanbul, Turkey without her parents’ knowledge. She is believed to have been radicalised about the jihadist cause on social media.
The plane she was on was already moving when the Met counter-terrorism officers arrived and ordered it to turn around.
The Evening Standard reported yesterday on the rescue operation which took place after a tip-off from the girl’s local community began a missing person’s search.
A statement from Scotland Yard said: “On Saturday, December 6, police received reports of a 15-year-old girl from Tower Hamlets missing from home. Officers were able to locate her and she has since returned home safely.”
However, on the same day police were unable to stop another girl of the same age from leaving to join Syrian fighters.
The Met have not commented on rumours that the girls wanted to join the conflict which has led to over 200,000 deaths so far according to the UN.
Officials have estimated that 500 Britons have gone to join the Syrian and Iraqi conflicts although Khalid Mahmood, Labour MP for Birmingham Perry Barr, has claimed the number is closer to 2,000.
Home Secretary, Theresa May has called for reforms to the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill, known as “snoopers’ charter”, to give police greater powers to track terrorist-associated groups online.