UK police reject Turkish delay claims over missing schoolgirls

British police have rejected accusations from Turkey that they delayed informing Turkish authorities about three teenage girls from London suspected of attempting to travel to Syria to join the militant Sunni Islamist group Islamic State. Friends Amira Abase, 15, Shamima Begum, 15, and Kadiza Sultana, 16, flew to Istanbul from London on Feb. 17 in what the authorities believe was a bid to journey on to Syria. On Monday, Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said Britain had taken three days to pass on details about the missing girls, saying the British would be to blame if they were not found.

But on Tuesday a London police spokesman said officers had contacted the Turkish Embassy in London on Feb. 18, the day after their flight.

The girls’ plight has prompted widespread concern in Britain, with Prime Minister David Cameron urging social media firms to do more to deal with online extremism saying the girls appeared to have been radicalised “in their bedrooms”.



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