Counter terrorism raid: family of five arrested & bailed

New Scotland Yard PIC Metropolitan Police

New Scotland Yard PIC Metropolitan Police

A married couple and their three daughters who were arrested in east London on suspicion of Syria-related terror offences were bailed yesterday [August 14].

The 51-year-old man, a 53-year-old woman and three girls aged 16, 17 and 19, were arrested on suspicion of possessing information likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism. They are reported to live in Tower Hamlets.

It is understood the investigation is linked to Syria and potential plans to travel to the country.

Scotland Yard said the arrests were part of an ongoing inquiry which saw the 16-year-old girl arrested in July on suspicion of preparation of terrorism and bailed until September.

The girl, who was 15-years-old at the time of her arrest, was believed to be the youngest girl ever in Britain to be held over a terrorism offence.

The man was also arrested on suspicion of possessing false identity documents. All five are being held at a central London police station.

The arrests come after senior counter terror officials warned they were investigating increasing numbers of families intending to travel to Syria.

Police and security services believe at least 700 potential extremists have travelled to Syria, with around half thought to have returned to the UK.

There is growing concern about the threat posed to children by older siblings or their parents. Last week it was revealed at least 32 children in London had been made the subject of family court orders this year over fears of radicalisation.

Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley, the country’s most senior counter-terrorism officer, said last week in some instances the children were “almost babes in arms”, with ages ranging from two or three up to 16 or 17.

Rowley said counter-terrorism officers were now arresting suspects at a rate of more than one a day.

In the first official count of British women thought to be in Syria, police last month said 43 women and girls were feared to have fled to the country in the past year.

Among them were Shamima Begum, 15, Amira Abase, 15, and Kadiza Sultana, 16, who left to join the Islamic State group in Syria in February. All three were students at Bethnal Green Academy in east London.

By Scarlett Alexander

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