A 14-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl were arrested on terrorism-related charges in Britain, Greater Manchester Police police said Saturday. The arrests were announced just days after an unrelated investigation stopped nine British nationals at the Turkey-Syria border.
Thursday, the boy was arrested on suspicion of preparing for an act of terrorism after a search warrant was executed at an address in Blackburn, England. A counterterrorism unit secured the warrant after it examined “a number of electronic devices,” police said.
Friday, the girl was arrested on suspicion of engaging in conduct in preparation for acts of terrorism following the execution of a search warrant at a house in the Longsight section of Manchester, police said.
Both teens posted bail and were released. They are scheduled for court hearings May 28, police said. Their arrests were unrelated to the case involving nine people from Rochdale, England, who were stopped by Turkish authorities at the Turkey-Syria border last week, U.K. authorities said.
Five adults -- ages 21, 22, 22, 24 and 47 -- and four children ranging in age from 1 to 11 are under investigation over why they were attempting to travel from Turkey to Syria, Manchester police said Thursday. At this time, there is no evidence they were an imminent threat to Rochdale or the U.K.
The British government has estimated there are between 600 and 2,000 fighters from the U.K. in Iraq and Syria, where the Islamic State group has gained a foothold, carrying out multiple beheadings and terrorist attacks.
Police have not released more information about either of the latest incidents, and they say investigations are ongoing.
In the case of the nine people apprehended at the Turkey-Syria border, Ian Wigget, assistant chief constable of the Greater Manchester Police, said the young ages of some of the travelers was what struck him.
“What is obviously concerning is why a family were seemingly attempting to take very young and vulnerable children into a war zone; such a volatile and dangerous environment is no place for them whatsoever,” Wigget said in a statement. “We have commenced an investigation to try and establish their reasons for travel, and as this is a live investigation -- which is very much in its infancy -- we are not in a position to comment further. One of our primary concerns is the safety and welfare of the young children, and we are working with partners to ensure a full safeguarding strategy is in place upon their return to the U.K.”