L-R: two visitors arriving the family’s home, Salma and Zahra Halane, inset police leaving the family home
16-year-old twins, Salma and Zahra Halane, who hoped to train as doctors, left their parents’ home in the middle of the night and are now believed to be training for battle in Syria. The girls believed to be following in the footsteps of their elder brother, who ditched his own ‘excellent’ academic career to join the ISIS terror group around a year ago, were said to have caught a flight to Turkey, before crossing the border.
Before their disappearance, Zahra and Salma were typical teenagers, who pouted for selfies and shopped at Primark like every other girl. They were also doing well in their academics. Last summer Salma achieved 13 GCSEs – 11 of them at grades A* to C – while Zahra passed 15, of which 12 were A*-C. The results put them in the top 10 per cent of their year group at Whalley Range High School for Girls in Manchester. They went on to study at Connell Sixth Form College, where fellow students said they hoped to follow in the footsteps of their elder sister Hafsa, 25, who is at medical school in Denmark after graduating from Manchester University.
Twin Salma Halane before she left home
Friends of the twins have expressed shock over twin’s action, as they didn’t seem to be radical or extremist in their views.
Selfie of Zahra Halane taken before she left home
According to Daily Mail report, the devoutly Muslim Somali refugee parents of the twins raised the alarm last month, after finding the girls’ beds empty and their passports and clothes missing. It was learnt that the twins’ father, Ibrahim, teaches at a nearby mosque, where leaders this week issued a statement repudiating extremism and opposing violence of all kinds.
Mohammed Shafiq, of the Ramadan Foundation, said: "The family was desperately unhappy to discover their son had gone to Syria, and they thought they were keeping a watchful eye on their other children. Then this happens."
Sources believe the girls must have been inspired by their brother’s transformation into a jihadi fighter, and became radicalised themselves while viewing extremist Islamist material online. The police are currently investigating how the girls funded their own trip as there are fears they may have been bankrolled by jihadi fighters who want them as their wives.