A teenager from Bethnal Green who tried to join ISIS in Syria was hauled off a plane when police found a stash of extremist materials but was never prosecuted, it has emerged. The 15-year-old tried to fly to Turkey from Heathrow in order to head to Syria in December 2014, two months before Shamima Begum went to join the terror group. . . The girl who travelled months earlier was one of five Bethnal Green schoolgirls who tried to fly to Syria but the only one who was stopped.
Analysis of phones and devices linked to the fifth Bethnal Green girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons but is now an adult, uncovered plans of a government building among a plethora of extremist material, including Isis propaganda that portrayed killings.
The teenager was arrested but it is understood that no file was passed to the Crown Prosecution Service in relation to any plot, in part because of the sheer volume of material and the number of digital devices it was discovered on, some of which were not her own. These included pen drives, memory cards, computers and phones.
Videos recovered depicted a target said to be linked to the royal family and another linked to police, and showed beheadings, sniper killings and murders involving automatic weapons. . . the girl had copies of an Isis magazine, lectures by a senior al-Qaeda hate preacher and notes on how to travel to Syria. She viewed propaganda videos showing groups of men bound together and murdered en masse and had been engaging online with one of the group’s sympathisers, who manipulated her sense of duty to her religion.
The fifth girl, who is still in Britain, has been carefully monitored and is understood to have undergone and engaged in a deradicalisation process.
However, the revelations about the level of material to which she was exposed, as well as the intelligence that was on the devices, will raise further questions over the extent of the extremism in which the girls have been involved and will cast doubt over whether they travelled to Syria simply to marry jihadists.
An account written by the fifth girl, who was exposed to Islamist views through family members, details the speed and extent of her radicalisation. Though she was under no illusion as to the Isis policy on young women being married off, the girl rejected the notion that she simply wanted to be the wife of a militant, and expressed her intention to continue her education and undertake humanitarian aid once inside the “caliphate”.
Scotland Yard did not respond to inquiries regarding the case against the fifth girl.
When it emerged that letters given to the children regarding Sharmeena Begum (not related to Shamima Begum but also from bethnal Green and on the same flight to Turkey and onwards) had not been delivered to their parents, the Met said: “With the benefit of hindsight, we acknowledge that the letters could have been delivered direct to the parents.
Yesterday Ms Begum Begum claimed she was 'just a housewife' when she left Britain (no she wasn't - she was a schoolgirl) to join ISIS in Syria and does not regret her decision. She admitted she knew the group was carrying out beheadings and executions before she left, adding that she was 'okay with it'.
Ms Begum was speaking next to her newborn son, who she said she had named after her previous son who died, in accordance with her husband's wishes.
Asked to respond to comments that she could be potentially very dangerous if she returned, she said: 'They don't have any evidence against me doing anything dangerous . . . 'They don't really have proof that I did anything that is dangerous.'
Which suggests to me that she did, but is confident it wouldn't stand up in court.
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