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Families of missing Syria girls speak of anger at police

Abase Hussein speaks of his anger towards the police Photo: ITV News

The families of the London schoolgirls who ran away to Syria to join Islamic State have spoken of their anger towards police for failing to warn them that their daughters were in danger of being radicalised.

Amira Abase and Shamima Begum, both 15, and 16-year-old Kadiza Sultana boarded a Turkish Airlines flight from Gatwick to Istanbul on February 17 and police believe the trio have now crossed the Turkish border into Syria.

From left to right: Kadiza Sultana, Amira Abase and Shamima Begum at Gatwick Airport. Credit: Met Police

Amira's father, Abase Hussein, wept as he told ITV News a police letter warning of the threat should have been sent straight to the families.

Amira Abase Credit: ITV News

Instead it was given to the girls by their school to take home. They hid it in their textbooks while plotting their escape to Syria.

Relatives believe the girls would still be in the UK if they had received the letter.

We wouldn't have been here today doing this if we'd got that letter and known what was going on.

– Halima Khanom, sister of Kadiza Sultana

We would have spoken to them, sat them down. We would have spoken to the school.

– Fahmida Aziz, cousin of Kadiza Sultana

If we knew this wouldn't have happened. We would have stopped them. We would have discussed it and taken away their passports from them. This wouldn't have happened.

– Abase Hussein, father of Amira Abase

The Metropolitan Police said there was nothing to suggest the girls were at risk and that their disappearance had come as a great surprise.

The Metropolitan Police Service has been engaged with staff at the girls' school since December 2014 as part of the routine inquiry by officers investigating the disappearance of their friend.

There was nothing to suggest at the time that the girls themselves were at risk and indeed their disappearance has come as a great surprise, not least to their own families.

The girls were spoken to in December 2014 as part of the routine inquiry by officers investigating the disappearance of their friend.

We continue to liaise with the school and local education authority in connection with this ongoing investigation.

– Metropolitan Police

ITV News' UK Editor, Rohit Kachroo, reports:

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