The father of a missing teen believed to have fled to Syria to join Islamic State militants says his daughter never discussed jihad with the family.
Abase Hussen, 47, said his daughter Amira Abase told him she was going to a wedding on the morning she travelled to Gatwick airport to fly to Turkey, and had been behaving “in a normal way”.
“She said ‘daddy, I’m in a hurry’,” he said. “There was no sign to suspect her at all.”
Mr Abase said his daughter, 15, sent a text between 10am and 11am on Tuesday. “She said, ‘dad the place is a little bit far. I pray my midday pray and I get back’. She didn’t come home,” he said.
Mr Abase said the family reported her missing at about midnight on Tuesday.
“It’s completely different now,” he said. “We are depressed, and it’s very stressful. The message we have for Amira is to get back home. We miss you. We cannot stop crying. Please think twice. Don’t go to Syria.”
Mr Abase said his daughter had never spoken about an interest in jihad with him but “maybe with friends”. He added: “She doesn’t dare discuss something like this with us. She knows what the answer would be.”
Police are urgently trying to trace Amira and her friends Shamima Begum, 15, and Kadiza Sultana, 16. Their families have also appealed for them to come home.
The girls, who are all from east London and pupils at Bethnal Green Academy, have been described as “straight A students”.
Shamima’s older sister Renu Begum, 27, (above) said their mother last saw her on Tuesday morning as she got on a bus after claiming she had extra classes at school. “She was just our baby, she was just herself,” she said.
Ms Begum said her sister did not leave any messages and there was “nothing unusual about her behaviour”.
She said she hopes the girls travelled to “talk some sense” into their friend who went to Syria in December.
“She was upset about her friend leaving,” she went on. “She knew it was a silly thing to do. We’re hoping she hasn’t been influenced in any way to do anything out of the ordinary.”
Reading a message to Kadiza, her older sister Halima Khanom (above) said: “We want you to know that we all miss you and we love you.
“Everyone is hurting because we don’t know if you are safe, especially mum.
“Find the courage in your heart to contact us and let us know how you are and if you are okay. That is all we ask.”
Scotland Yard revealed the girls were previously spoken to by officers investigating the disappearance of the other 15-year-old girl to Syria in December.
But there was “nothing to suggest at the time” that the trio were at risk and their disappearance has “come as a great surprise, not least to their own families”, a spokesman said.
The girls left their homes before 8am on Tuesday providing their families with “plausible” reasons as to why they would be out for the day, police said.
They boarded a Turkish Airlines flight, TK1966, which departed at 12.40pm to Istanbul and landed at 6.40pm local time.