- Family of 12 failed to return home after going on pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia
- Fears raised that three sisters fled to join Islamic State with nine children
- There has been no contact from sisters Sugra, Zohra and Khadija Dawood
- Members of family said they are ‘extremely worried’ and feel helpless
A family of 12 from Bradford including nine children are feared to have fled to join Islamic State after failing to return from a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.
Sisters Sugra Dawood 34, Zohra Dawood, 33, and Khadija Dawood, 30, travelled to Medina with their nine children aged between three and 15-year-old last month.
Family members expected them to return on Thursday, but 10 of the group are believed to have boarded a fight to Istanbul in Turkey on June 9, according to their lawyer Balaal Hussain Khan.
Mr Khan said that the brother of the three missing sisters is currently in Syria.
In a statement released by their solicitors, the Dawood family said they were ‘extremely worried’ and felt helpless.
‘The family are extremely concerned as to the whereabouts of the missing persons and their welfare,’ Mr Khan said.
They would be the largest family to have travelled to join ISIS from the UK if they have fled to Syria.
There has been no contact since June 9 from mother-of-two Khadija, mother-of-five Sugra and mother-of-two Zohra.
Mr Khan revealed that their phones have been switched off since last Tuesday and their social media profiles have not been updated.
Mr Khan said there was no record for eight-year-old Haafiyah Binte Zubair and five-year-old Nurah Binte Zubair on the flight to Istanbul, but he believed this was a computer glitch.
West Yorkshire Police confirmed officers are now investigating the disappearances.
Officers have contacted the Turkish authorities but there have been no sightings or contact in Turkey.
The force said it was supporting the family and working ‘extensively with authorities overseas to try and locate them’.
Appealing for information, Assistant Chief Constable Russ Foster said: ‘Our priority is for their safe return; their families are gravely worried about them and want them home.
‘One of our primary concerns is the safety and welfare of the young children.’