Girls barred from travelling are from same London school of 3 teens who left to join ISIS

LONDON (AFP) - A group of London teenage girls barred from travelling abroad attend the same school as three others who are thought to have gone to Syria, the High Court has heard.

Last week, High Court judge Anthony Hayden barred five teenage girls from going overseas due to concerns they too would flee to Syria to join Islamist fighters.

He made the girls from east London - two aged 15 and three aged 16 - "wards of court", a legal move that prevents them leaving the jurisdiction of England and Wales without judicial permission. He confiscated their passports and also those of a number of adults involved in caring for them, noting that in at least one other case a young girl travelled on a relative's passport.

Judge Hayden said Friday it could be revealed that four of those girls were pupils at the Bethnal Green Academy in east London.

Kadiza Sultana, 16, and 15-year-olds Shamima Begum and Amira Abase, who also went to the school, left their homes in February and flew to Istanbul, from where they are believed to have joined the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

They followed a classmate who left about two months earlier.

"All involved must recognise that in this particular process it is the interest of the individual child that is paramount," the judge said.

"This cannot be eclipsed by wider considerations of counter terrorism policy or operations, but it must be recognised that the decision the court is being asked to take can only be arrived at against an informed understanding of that wider canvas."

The British authorities are increasingly concerned by the numbers of young people heading to join jihadists in Syria, after a string of high-profile cases in recent weeks.

Three teenage boys and a 21-year-old woman were stopped in Turkey in the past week on suspicion of trying to cross the border.

About 700 people are thought to have gone to Syria from Britain, of whom almost half are reported to have returned.

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