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Description: The husbands of three sisters and nine children feared to have travelled to Syria are said to be distraught after the group went missing following a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia

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Fathers fear for 'Syria' children
« on: June 16, 2015, 01:07:21 PM »



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Fathers fear for 'Syria' children

Missing Bradford family: Fathers 'distraught' over fears children are in Syria




Sugra Dawood, Zohra Dawood and Khadija Dawood

                        Sisters Sugra, Zohra and Khadija Dawood have not been heard from since 9 June


The husbands of three sisters and nine children feared to have travelled to Syria are said to be "distraught" after the group went missing following a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.

Khadija Dawood, 30, Sugra Dawood, 34, and Zohra Dawood, 33, from Bradford, and their children, aged three to 15, have not made contact for a week.

Their brother is understood to be fighting with extremists in Syria.

MP Naz Shah said the children's fathers were "worried out of their minds".

Police say they are "extremely concerned" for their safety and enquiries were continuing on a "national and international level".

This latest case follows the deaths of Dewsbury teenager Talha Asmal, who reportedly blew himself up in Iraq becoming the UK's youngest suicide bomber, and Muslim convert Thomas Evans, 25, from Buckinghamshire, who was among al-Shabab fighters killed in an attack on a Kenyan military base.

'Out of the blue'

The Bradford family travelled to the Saudi city of Medina on 28 May.

It is thought 10 of them later boarded a flight to Istanbul, but no details have been found indicating that two of the children - five-year-old Nurah Zubair and her sister Haafiyah Zubair, eight - boarded the same flight.

Bradford West MP Ms Shah told the BBC she had spoken with two of the fathers.

"I asked them if there was any indication and they said absolutely not - it was a shock to them, it came out of the blue," she said.

"The men are very, very distraught. They are confused and did not know what was happening or why it was happening.

"At this time there is no contact, absolutely zero contact with the women or children. The last contact was a few days ago when they were due to leave."

The group were supposed to fly to Manchester following their pilgrimage but the fathers reported them missing when they did not return, Ms Shah said.


                        Sugra Dawood, 34, and her five children (clockwise from top left): Junaid Ahmed Iqbal, Ibrahim Iqbal, Ismaeel Iqbal, Mariya Iqbal and Zaynab Iqbal



                        Zohra Dawood (left), 33, and daughters Nurah Binte Zubair and Haafiyah Binte Zubair (right)



                        Khadija Dawood, 30, her son Muhammad Haseeb and daughter Maryam Siddiqui


Some of the children are believed to have boarded a flight with their mothers from Medina to Istanbul in Turkey - a commonly used route into Syria - on 9 June.

There has been no contact with the sisters since then. Their mobile phones have not been active, nor have their social media profiles been updated.

Lawyer Balaal Khan, who is representing the husbands of the three sisters, said: "The suspicion, and main concern, is that the women have taken their children to Syria."

He said it was feared the sisters had met with their brother who is understood to be fighting with extremists.

Missing children

  • Ismaeel Iqbal, three

  • Mariya Iqbal, five

  • Muhammad Haseeb, five

  • Nurah Binte Zubair, five

  • Maryam Siddiqui, seven

  • Haafiyah Binte Zubair, eight

  • Zaynab Iqbal, eight

  • Ibrahim Iqbal, 14

  • Junaid Ahmed Iqbal, 15

Mr Khan said the fathers, two of whom are in the UK and one in Pakistan, were "concerned that their children's lives are in danger".

"[They] are distraught, they feel helpless and they don't know what to do. They want the children out of harm's way," he said.

Police were notified last week but were limited in what they could do because it was out of their jurisdiction, he added.

Timeline of the disappearance

  • Pre-June 2014: The sisters' brother travels to Syria to fight with extremists

  • 28 May 2015: Family travel from Bradford to Saudi Arabian city of Medina on pilgrimage

  • 9 June: Mothers and seven of the nine children thought to have boarded flight to Istanbul in Turkey - a commonly-used route into Syria

  • 9 June: Last contact from mothers

  • 11 June: Family had been expected to return to UK

West Yorkshire Police have contacted the Turkish authorities; however, there have been no sightings or contacts made in Turkey.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: "We are in contact with West Yorkshire Police and Turkish authorities and are ready to provide consular assistance."

Baroness Warsi, a former Conservative minister for faith and communities, said successive governments had failed to engage with Muslims to tackle extremist ideas.

The government must uncover the "drivers for radicalisation" if it is to take on this "generational challenge", she said.

Tracking Britain's jihadists

The stories of those who have died, been convicted of offences relating to the Islamic State conflict or are still in Syria or Iraq

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