Salma and Zahra Halane, 16, twin teenage girls from Manchester thought to have run away to join their brother who is fighting in Syria.
Salma and Zahra Halane, 16, are believed to have flown to Turkey to travel on to Syria. Part of a family of eleven children, it is believed one of their older brothers is already out fighting in Syria for terror group ISIS.
Salma and Zara were star GCSE students, graded as being in the top ten per cent of their year group at school. The twins were top students with 28 GCSEs between them, it has emerged. Salma achieved 13 GCSEs, 11 between A* – C, with Zahra getting 12 A*-C grades and 15 GCSEs in total.
The Haldane family, from Somalia, first raised the alarm over the girls after discovering they had slipped put of the house during the night. There are fears they may have been radicalised over internet forums or bankrolled to travel to Syria by ISIS fighters who want them for as wives.
The girls’ 44-year-old mother was said to have broken down in tears at her home yesterday, saying ‘I’m just so shocked’, according to the Daily Mail. The twin girls were due to start at Connell Sixth Form College in Beswick, east Manchester this September and had recently attended an open day there. But they have since contacted their family to say they had crossed the border into Syria.
Police said they were continuing to investigate the girls’ disappearance.
Mr. Mohammed Shafiq, Chief Executive of the Ramadhan Foundation said: “It is deeply worrying that two teenager girls have travelled to Syria to support terrorist groups. These terrorist groups are barbaric and evil and do not have any regard for human life and islamic history. Joining them in Syria and Iraq is not allowed under islam and those that join them open the risk to being charged under terrorism legislation in this country.
There has been an abject failure of intelligience agencies, how can two 16 year girls travel unaccompanied from manchester Airport and arrive in Istanbul without any questions being asked.
I have spoken to and are offering support to Manchester’s Somalian community who like me oppose terrorism and will continue to support the authorities. I have been in touch with those family members to ensure that the parents know they are not alone.
The biggest worry I have is of former fighters returning to the UK targeting Britain. Let’s hope and pray that the girls return safely home to their worried families.