Leeds & West Yorkshire

Syria fears over Bradford family missing after Saudi pilgrimage

Sugra Dawood, Zohra Dawood and Khadija Dawood Image copyright Dawood family pictures via solicitor
Image caption Sisters Sugra, Zohra and Khadija Dawood have not been heard from since 9 June

Three sisters from Bradford are feared to have travelled to Syria with their nine children after going on a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.

The sisters and their children, aged between three and 15, were due back in the UK on Thursday, Khan Solicitors said on behalf of the family.

Ten are thought to have boarded a flight to Istanbul in Turkey on 9 June.

Lawyer Balaal Khan confirmed concerns about them "travelling to Syria". West Yorkshire Police is investigating.

'Extremely worried'

There has been no contact since 9 June from mother-of-two Khadija Dawood, 30, mother-of-five Sugra Dawood, 34, and mother-of-two Zohra Dawood, 33, after they left Medina in Saudi Arabia.

Their mobile telephones have not been active and their social media profiles have not been updated since then.

Image copyright Khan Solicitors
Image caption Sugra Dawood, 34, and her five children (clockwise from top left): Junaid Ahmed Iqbal, Ibrahim Iqbal, Ismaeel Iqbal, Mariya Iqbal and Zaynab Iqbal
Image copyright Khan Solicitors
Image caption Zohra Dawood (left), 33, and daughters Nurah Binte Zubair and Haafiyah Binte Zubair (right)
Image copyright Khan Solicitors
Image caption Khadija Dawood, 30, her son Muhammad Haseeb and daughter Maryam Siddiqui

According to the solicitors, it is thought the group travelled to Syria where a brother of the three sisters is understood to be fighting with extremists. It is feared they have met up with him.

Police neither confirmed nor denied the claim.

The family travelled to Medina on 28 May. It is thought 10 of them boarded the flight to Istanbul, but no details have been found for five-year-old Nurah Zubair and her sister Haafiyah Zubair, eight, boarding the same flight.

Missing children

  • Ismaeel Iqbal, three
  • Mariya Iqbal, five
  • Muhammad Haseeb, five
  • Nurah Binte Zubair, five
  • Maryam Siddiqui, seven
  • Haafiyah Binte Zubair, eight
  • Zaynab Iqbal, eight
  • Ibrahim Iqbal, 14
  • Junaid Ahmed Iqbal, 15

In a statement released by their solicitors, the Dawood family said they were "extremely worried" and felt helpless.

'Children's lives in danger'

Mr Khan, acting for the fathers of the missing children, said: "One of the possibilities is they travelled to Turkey to travel to Syria.

"The suspicion, and main concern, is that the women have taken their children to Syria."

He said the fathers were "concerned that their children's lives are in danger".

"[They] are distraught, they feel helpless and they don't know what to do. They want the children out of harm's way."

Police were notified five or six days ago but were limited in what they could do because it was out of their jurisdiction, he added.

West Yorkshire Police has contacted the Turkish authorities, however there have been no sightings or contacts made in Turkey, a country commonly used to as a route into Syria.

The force said it was supporting the family and working "extensively with authorities overseas to try and locate them".

Appealing for information, Assistant Chief Constable Russ Foster said: "Our priority is for their safe return; their families are gravely worried about them and want them home.

"One of our primary concerns is the safety and welfare of the young children."

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: "We are in contact with West Yorkshire Police and Turkish authorities and are ready to provide consular assistance."

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