Theresa May: Women are joining the fight with extremists in Iraq and Syria

By Chris Ship - ITV News Deputy Political Editor

The Home Secretary has told ITV News that young women have left Britain to fight for the extremists group ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Theresa May said that the threat from terrorists in the region is on the "doorstep of Europe" and some women are among the 400-plus Britons thought to be fighting for the group.

Despite government efforts to deal with the radicalisation of young Muslims in Britain, Mrs May admits that the numbers going to Syria to fight "have been increasing." She promised to take away passports from those returning and to prosecute those who have been fighting abroad. The Home Secretary warned the extremists become "battle hardened" when they go to fight and they come back to the UK with "skills which could do us harm".

More: New picture of Abdul Raqib Amin 'prior to radicalisation'

On the numbers of women travelling to Syria from the UK, Mrs May told us that it was striking how concerned the families are here that "their sons - and in some cases it will be daughters too - have been going out to Syria". Home Office sources indicate that the vast majority of those travelling to Syria and Iraq are men - but there is evidence that young women are travelling too. It's thought "a handful" may have left the UK so far for this reason.

More: Osborne: No absence of money to keep country safe