Shamima Begum describes how she left London for Syria
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Counter-terror police have warned growing numbers of British extremists are travelling back to Syria for training as Shamima Begum’s legal bid to challenge the decision to deprive her of her British citizenship was heard in court today. Shamima Begum, now 23-years-old, fled to Syria at the age of 15 to join the ISIS terror group, but resurfaced in 2019 only to have her British citizenship revoked by the Home Secretary.
Judges have today ruled against Begum and she will now unlikely be allowed to return to Britain.
It comes as counter-terror police warned that the ruling may cause an uptick in British extremists to head to Syria in order to join jihadist groups.
Matt Jukes, the head of counter-terrorism policing, told the Telegraph that authorities have detected increasing numbers of jihadists travelling to countries such as Syria.
He added that Islamist terrorism is still considered to be the greatest threat to the British public.
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He said: “At the latter part of last year, it felt to me we were starting to engage again with threats that we were more familiar with.
“We are starting to see indications of interest in attack-planning amongst overseas groups, attack-planning in Europe, and in some cases that has been sparked by instability in their own parts of the world – places such as Afghanistan and Syria or parts of Africa.
“Our own casework is starting to show a renewed interest in travel to places of past conflicts and financial arrangements being made across borders; money and people moving for the purpose of terrorism again.”
In 2015, Begum left her home in east London with two friends from school to travel to Syria.
Shortly after she married Dutch national Yago Riedijk, 27.
Begum was found in a refugee camp in 2019, before being stripped of her British citizenship and banned from entering the UK.
She fought to return to Britain ever since.
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Her case attracted widespread publicity.
Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary at the time, was accused of revoking her citizenship to boost his ambitions to be prime minister, by Lord Macdonald, the former director of public prosecutions of England and Wales, among others.
Begum described the place where she was held, at al-Roj, as “worse than prison”.
Her infant son Jarrah died in March 2019 not long after Mr Javid told her family about her citizenship being revoked.
Jarrah was her third child to pass away.
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