Authorities arrested a 16-year-old girl suspected of being en route to Syria to join Islamic militant forces, a high-ranking French government official announced Sunday.
In a statement, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said the arrest took place Saturday at the Nice airport in the southeastern part of France. The young woman was allegedly prepping to fly to Turkey, with a final destination of Syria “for jihad.”
Later that evening, French border patrol agents also arrested a man around the age of 20, suspected of recruiting the teen and supplying her with fully paid plane fare.
Cazeneuve said the girl’s family had no clue about her intentions.
In April, the Interior Ministry created a 24/7 hotline for parents to call if their kids display any signs of “violent radicalization.” Since its implementations, the government had received about 300 reports — 25% of which involved minors, and 45% of which involved women or young girls.
According to Reuters, approximately 800 French citizens have left the country to join radical groups in Syria.
In an op-ed published Saturday in The New York Times, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned of ISIS’ terrorist outreach in that region. He said, “The group has amassed a hardened fighting force of committed jihadists with global ambitions, exploiting the conflict in Syria and sectarian tensions in Iraq.”