British police reject Turkish claims

Britain 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 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.
“Since then we have been working closely with the Turkish authorities who are providing great assistance and support to our investigation,” he added.
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 radicalized “in their bedrooms.”
He also said airlines needed new systems to vet children traveling alone. The girls were all high-achieving students who had given their distraught families no indication of what they planning, but had been in contact via Twitter with other women involved with the IS.
Anita Kokhar, a spokeswoman for the family of teenager Yusra Hussien who left Britain for Syria last year, said the way young people were targeted via the Internet was more akin to direct “grooming” than being radicalized by videos or other material.
Meanwhile, Egypt on Tuesday rejected accusations of blame in the death of seven civilians killed in Libya last week when Cairo’s military bombed suspected militant targets after the beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians.
A report on Monday from Amnesty International in London said the Egyptian air force had “failed to take the necessary precautions” during the attack and had “joined the ranks of those placing civilians at risk in Libya.”
Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El-Sissi said on Sunday, before the Amnesty report was released, that the air force had hit 13 targets selected after careful study and reconnaissance to avoid civilian casualties.
“The latest report issued by Amnesty International on the Egyptian air strike on the sites of the terrorist organization of (ISIL) includes false and incorrect information,” the MENA quoted Foreign Ministry as saying.

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