Britain’s former foreign secretary William Hague said that lessons must be learnt from the case of missing school girls believed to be making their way from England to Syria, but he wouldn’t be drawn on whether Britain’s security services bore any responsibility.
LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (FEBRUARY 22, 2015) (ITN) – Britain’s former foreign secretary William Hague said on Sunday (February 22) that there should be no rush to judge who’s responsible for the three missing London schoolgirls heading to Syria.
“Well there’s a responsibility on everybody here, in cases like these: on families, on religious leaders and on security services as well. I’m sure we’ll all want to learn lessons from everything that’s happened in every case when people go to Syria, but I wouldn’t want to rush into any judgements about who’s responsible for what,” said Hague who now has the .
The three London schoolgirls are believed to be making their way to Syria, having flown to Turkey earlier this week.
Two of the three friends are aged 15 and one 16, left their east London homes on Tuesday (February 17) and travelled to Gatwick airport where they caught a Turkish Airlines flight to Istanbul without telling their families.
A friend of the girls from Bethnal Green Academy where the three girls, two of whom were named as British nationals Shamima Begum and Kadiza Sultana, said that everyone was worried about them and hoped they would come back for their exams in a couple of weeks.
“What were they thinking? We was all shocked when we heard about that. But individually they’re all very close they’re all just determined to do what they want to do,” said the friend Atlanta Broadbent during an interview with a ITV news on Saturday (February 21).
“No, they were like, when I saw them a couple of weeks ago they just seemed normal, how they are everyday, they seemed, just going to revision everyday, they seemed normal, they spoke about anything like that,” said Broadbent when asked whether they had ever talked about going to Syria or Iraq.
The missing girls are friends with a fourth teenage girl from the same school who police believe is already in Syria, having travelled to Turkey in December.
“I think between the three of them they kind of planned this, planned it out. So they didn’t want to tell anybody else just them three,” added Broadbent.
Security forces estimate some 600 British Muslims have travelled to Syria to join the conflict there, some of them with the militant Sunni Islamist group Islamic State.
Around half have since returned, and dozens have been arrested in Britain under anti-terrorism legislation.