French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said a 16-year-old girl was allegedly planning to travel to Syria join Islamist militants, NBC News reported Sunday. Before the teen was able to board a flight to go to Turkey Saturday, she was detained at Nice airport in southern France, Cazeneuve said in a statement.
A 20-year-old man was arrested for allegedly buying the girl’s plane ticket and recruiting her. The girl’s family “knew nothing of her intentions,” Cazeneuve said.
An estimated 800 citizens have left France to join Islamist groups in Syria, Reuters reported. At 5 million, France has the biggest Muslim community in the European Union. A hotline for parents to call if their children exhibit strange behavior was one of the measures put in place by the French interior minister to try to prevent young French citizens from becoming radicalized, Reuters said. Authorities have received nearly 300 tips on the hotline, the statement said. Forty-five percent of the calls involve women or young girls.
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