Police stop 15-year-old girl on her way to Syria by intercepting plane as it taxied down Heathrow runway

Counter-terror officers 'probably saved her life', Met says

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The Independent Online

A 15-year-old girl who planned to join the conflict in Syria has been stopped by police officers who boarded her plane seconds before it took off from Heathrow.

The dramatic rescue involved a girl who, without her parents' knowledge, bought a ticket to Istanbul in Turkey and was moments away from leaving the country for good, the Evening Standard reported.

Counter-terror officers rushed to the airport only to find that the plane was already taxiing down the runway. Despite the disruption and cost involved, they ordered flight controllers to have the jet turn around.

The Metropolitan Police said it was an example of the considerable number of girls and young women travelling to Syria and the increasing number of people in general going to fight abroad with Isis and other militant groups.

A Met source told the Standard: "The plane was taxiing down the runway but we managed to turn it round. This was a big decision to take because of all the disruption it caused. But we had to stop her going. It has probably saved her life."

Scotland Yard declined to comment in detail on the case but confirmed that a "missing person inquiry" had been resolved earlier this month.

A Met Police spokeswoman said: "On Saturday 6 December, police received reports of a 15-year-old girl from Tower Hamlets missing from home. Officers were able to locate her and she has since returned home safely."

The girl has since returned to her family, the Standard reported, but another 15-year-old girl was able to leave the country before police could intervene.