Ten youths were arrested by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) at Montreal's Trudeau International Airport over suspicion of wanting to travel to Iraq and Syria to join the Islamic State group, authorities said late Tuesday. The young men were reportedly arrested last weekend and so far no charges have been filed against them.
An investigation is underway into the incident and the passports of the 10 young men have been confiscated, the RCMP said, in a statement, according to the Associated Press. Authorities did not disclose the identities of those arrested and no further detail was given out about the incident. The RCMP also reportedly did not disclose what led to the arrests, but said that investigators had met with the families of those in custody.
"These are very difficult times for the relatives and loved ones of the persons arrested, as the decision to leave the country was not that of the family, but of a single family member. As a result, family members often find themselves at a complete loss and unable to understand the decision made by the youth," police said, in the statement.
Officials of Canada's anti-terror unit within the RCMP, Quebec provincial police and Montreal police were reportedly involved in the operation.
The country’s Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney reportedly declined to provide details of the arrests saying he could not comment on “specific operational matters,” but commended the RCMP and the Integrated National Security Enforcement Team for their "continued vigilance in keeping our streets and communities safe from the ongoing global terror threat."
Western governments have grown increasingly concerned about their citizens, especially youths, traveling to join ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Over 20,000 foreigners have joined ISIS, according to an estimate from the National Counterterrorism Center, CNN reported in February. Of those, about 3,400 people are from Western nations in Europe and North America.