UK plans airline laws to stop Britons from joining Islamic State

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 08, 2015 10:45 AM

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain will introduce a package of new laws next week to stop airlines carrying passengers who may be traveling to join Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq, the Sunday Times newspaper reported.

Thousands of foreigners from more than 80 countries have joined the ranks of Islamic State (IS) and other radical groups in Syria and Iraq, including the Briton known as "Jihadi John", who has appeared in multiple IS beheading videos.

Britain's interior minister would be able to prevent airlines from carrying passengers, including children, believed to be traveling to take part in "terrorism-related activity" on known routes, such as those into Syria, the newspaper reported.

The Home Office (Britain's interior ministry) confirmed the accuracy of the reports.

The rules, due to be included in legislation being put before parliament this week, would require airlines to seek permission to carry such passengers. An automatic system based on passenger lists provided by airlines would flag high-risk travelers and stop them boarding aircraft, the report said.

The new powers are the latest step in Britain's efforts to stop foreign fighters from entering Syria via commercial flights and come weeks after three London schoolgirls fled Britain via Turkey to join up with Islamic State.

Speaking in an online chatroom on Sunday, Britain's Senior National Coordinator for Counter Terrorism, Helen Ball, said that at least 22 families in Britain had reported young women and girls as missing in the past year, believing that they had traveled to Syria.

(Reporting by William James; Editing by David Goodman)