Three male teenagers were on Sunday being held in custody, British police said, after they were deported from Turkey from where they are believed to have been trying to travel to Syria.
The trio — two aged 17 and from northwest London, the third aged 19 — were being held on suspicion of preparing acts of terror.
Scotland Yard police headquarters in London said counter-terror officers were told Friday that the 17-year-olds had “gone missing and were believed to be travelling to Syria”. “Officers alerted the Turkish authorities who were able to intercept all three males, preventing travel to Syria,” a spokesman said.
A Turkish official confirmed that the three were detained by security forces in Istanbul on Friday and were deported back to Britain on Saturday. The 17-year-olds were detained upon information provided by Britain, the official told AFP.
Meanwhile the 19-year-old, identified as MAA, was detected by Turkish airport police who scrutinized the passengers arriving in Istanbul on a flight from Barcelona, the official said. The official said that according to initial data, the teenagers were headed to Syria — most probably to join the ISIL terrorist group.
The Scotland Yard spokesman said the three had been returned to Britain and were arrested “on suspicion of the preparation of terrorist acts”, contrary to the Terrorism Act 2006. “All three have been taken to a central London police station, where they remain in custody.”
The Turkish official praised the cooperation with the British authorities, saying: “This shows we can get results when serious co-operation, including timely intelligence, is in place.”