British officials are scrambling to find three teenage girls who boarded a plane bound for Turkey on Tuesday.
The Metropolitan Police is looking for Shamima Begum, 15, Kadiza Sultana, 16, and a third 15-year-old who remains anonymous at the request of her family. The three girls flew out of Gatwick Airport south of London on a Turkish Airlines flight.
“We are extremely concerned for the safety of these young girls and would urge anyone with information to come forward and speak to police. Our priority is the safe return of these girls to their families,” said Met counter-terrorism commander Richard Walton, CBS News reported Friday.
Authorities suspect that the girls will make their way to Syria to join up with members of the Islamic State group.
“We are concerned about the numbers of girls and young women who have or are intending to travel” to territory controlled by the Sunni radical terror group, Mr. Walton added.
The search for the three girls comes just days after the Islamic State group claimed that the widow of Paris hostage-taker Amedy Coulibaly is safe inside its territory in Syria or Iraq.
Intelligence officials believe that Hayat Boumeddiene, 26, may be in Raqqa, Syria.
“I did not encounter any difficulties [getting here], it is good to live in the land that is governed by the laws of God,” the terror suspect purportedly told the French-language magazine Dar al-Islam, Reuters reported Feb. 12.