Bradford sisters have crossed into Syria, says Isis people smuggler

The family of 12 arrived in Isis-controlled territory this week

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The Independent Online

Three Bradford sisters and their nine children have "crossed into Syria", according to an Isis smuggler.

Khadija Dawood, 30, Sugra Dawood, 34, Zohra Dawood, 33, and their children failed to return to the UK last week following a trip to Saudi Arabia, and it was feared they had traveled to Isis-controlled territory.

A smuggler who runs the militant group's border operations has told the BBC the family arrived in Syria on Wednesday and Thursday, having been split into two groups.

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Masked Isis fighters march through the Syrian city of Raqqa

One of the sisters has made contact with family in the UK, and early this week two of the women's husbands made an emotional plea for their return.

Akhtar Iqbal, who is married to Sugra and father to five of the children taken to Syria, said: "I am shaking. It's been too many days. Please come back home. I love you. All of you."

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Akhtar Iqbal, husband of Sugra Dawood (C), and Mohammad Shoaib, husband of Khadija Dawood, (R) sit with their solicitor Balaal Khan during a news conference to appeal for the return of their missing wives and children, in Bradford, northern England, on June 16, 2015.

The sisters are believed to be trying to join their younger brother, Ahmed, who left Britain in 2013 to join extremists and was already under police investigation.

Authorities are looking into whether the women made the journey after communicating with Ahmed, 21, over Skype.

Assistant Chief Constable Russ Foster, of West Yorkshire Police, this week said: “Contact has been made by one of the missing women and there is an indication that they may have already  crossed the border into Syria, but this is uncorroborated. We are extremely concerned for the safety of this family.”

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