Urgent appeals over missing family of seven from Bradford 'travelling to Turkey'


Urgent appeals have been made for information about a Bradford couple who have gone missing with their five children amid fears they may be trying to get to Syria.

Police say Imran Ameen, 39, his wife, Farzana Ameen, 40, and their five children, aged between five and 15, are believed to have travelled to Turkey, a well-known staging post for British people heading for the Syrian war-zone.

Community leaders have said they are extremely concerned the family may be heading for Syria, especially with such young children, and have appealed for anyone with information to help the police search.

West Yorkshire Police said the family was last seen on October 5 but were reported missing on Tuesday.

Earlier this year, sisters Khadija Dawood, 30, Sugra Dawood, 34, and Zohra Dawood, 33, also from Bradford, went missing after going on an Islamic pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia with their nine children.

It is believed they entered Syria to join the Islamic State group.

West Yorkshire Police's Assistant Chief Constable Russ Foster said: "We would urge anyone with information about the family's whereabouts to come forward and speak to police so the family can safely return to the UK.

"Any piece of information, no matter how small, could help the UK or overseas authorities to locate the family so that they can be safely returned home to their loved ones."

Police said they were continuing with their inquiries and were working with relatives who are still in the UK.

They said they were working with the Turkish authorities and were primarily concerned with the safety and welfare of the young children and the safe return of the family.

Ishtiaq Ahmed, of the Bradford Council for Mosques, said he did not know the family but appealed for the community to tell the police any relevant information.

Mr Ahmed told BBC Radio Leeds: "I think West Yorkshire Police are right in making an appeal to the community and if there is anyone in the community who has information about the whereabouts of this family it's important that they give that information to the police so the police can do whatever needs to be done to make sure the children are safe."

Asked if his organisation had done enough, following the disappearance of the Dawood family earlier this year, he said: "I think over the years and months we have worked with our membership through mosques and through our faith schools and through other community relations to basically emphasise to individuals and families that Syria not a safe place for anyone to travel.

"And, particularly, it's not a safe place for young people and therefore I think people would be taking a great risk if they were to flee and go to that part of the world under the current circumstances."

He said: "We need to know more more information regarding this family - about their whereabouts and what their motivation may be.

"But generally I think people are listening and our taking our message very seriously but we need to go on and we need to keep on pushing this message."