Willesden teen accused of flying to Syria to join ISIS ‘told airport police he was looking for love not war’

Yahya Rashid is on trial

Yahya Rashid is on trial - Credit: Archant

A teenager from Willesden accused of flying to Syria to join ISIS told police he was off on holiday to chase girls when he was quizzed at Gatwick Airport.

Woolwich Crown Court heard Yahya Rashid, 19, was stopped when he arrived ‘out of breath’ at the departure gate to catch his flight to Morocco.

He was travelling with Khaild Abdul-Rahman and Ibrahim Amouri, who were also stopped too.

Suspicious police officer Jane Duggan told the young men she was worried they might be on route to Iraq or Syria, but they were allowed to board the plane to Casablanca after telling the officer they were looking for love, not war.

In a statement read out in court the officer said she allowed them to board the flight after questioning them and phoning a woman, who said she was Amouri’s mother.

It is alleged the men, along with Swaleh Mohammed and his wife, Deqo Osman, planned to travel to Syria to join the terrorist group.

Rashid travelled to 100 miles from the Syrian border before turning himself in to the British embassy in Turkey on his dad’s advice.

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He was arrested when he flew back to Luton Airport on March 31 this year.

His companions remain in the war-torn state.

Jurors heard how the teenager, who has below average intelligence, used a forged BTech level 3 diploma to fraudulently gain a place on an electronics course at Middlesex University.

He then used his student loan to buy plane tickets to Morocco for him and his friends, who he knew from the Wembley Mosque.

Rashid denies preparing to commit an act of terrorism and a charge of assisting others to commits acts of terrorism over the same period.

The trial continues.