NI man 'may have joined Syria fight'

Published Friday, 04 July 2014
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A police investigation is underway into reports that a man from Northern Ireland may have travelled to Syria, amid ongoing concerns about EU citizens joining jihadi militants in the Middle East.

Officers carried out searches in Londonderry on Thursday night as part of the investigation.

A house in Derry's Creggan is understood to have been at the centre of the probe.

The worried family of a man who has been missing for months, 25-year-old Eamon Bradley, told the Irish Mirror earlier this week that he had been in touch to tell them he had joined rebel forces.

Confirming the investigation, a PSNI spokesman said only: "Police are making enquiries into reports of a Northern Ireland man in Syria."

UTV North West reporter Gareth Wilkinson said the Bradley family had declined to be interviewed.

Warnings against travelling to the conflict-hit country have remained in place for some time now from both the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and the British Foreign Office.

Dublin officials warn: "If you're planning a trip to Syria, we advise you not to travel. If you're currently in Syria, we strongly advise you to leave immediately while this is still possible.

"We cannot guarantee that the Honorary Consul of Ireland in Damascus will be able to remain open for much longer.

"Ireland has no embassy in Syria and, if the consulate has to close at short notice, it's extremely unlikely that we'll be able to provide any consular assistance to Irish citizens who decide to remain in Syria."

By all accounts, Eamon was a fairly normal guy here with an average up-bringing. But in recent years, he is said to have become increasingly interested in Islam and may well have converted.

Gareth Wilkinson, UTV

Officials in London also advise against all travel to Syria, adding: "British nationals in Syria should leave now by any practical means. The FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) is not able to provide consular services, and won't be able to help your evacuation from the country."

It comes as religious leaders across the UK urged British Muslims not to travel to Syria or Iraq to join the conflict.

A number of British men have appeared in recent propaganda material issued by the insurgent group Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS).

But an open letter from imams, during the Islamic festival of Ramadan, notes that it is the "month of mercy" and calls for British Muslims not to get involved with insurgents.

"We urge the British Muslim communities to continue the generous and tireless efforts to support all of those affected by the crisis in Syria and unfolding events in Iraq, but to do so from the UK in a safe and responsible way," they write.

Earlier this year, the Met Police called for people to come forward with information about family members if they feared they may join terrorist training camps in Syria.

The US Department of Homeland Security has stepped up security, including at international airports operating direct flights to the country, in the wake of what has been called "a credible threat".

Two terror networks are suspected to be working on a bomb plot aimed at sidestepping existing security checks.

© UTV News
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13 Comments
Tommy atkins in London, England wrote (73 days ago):
Lucy Going by your previous unintelligent posts post I consider any condemning posts from you as very, complimentary. Damian you need to take some courses in "Irony '
OldSod in Fermanagh wrote (73 days ago):
Ryan in Derry,.... way to turn this into an anti-psni thing,... what do you expect the police to do? Pretend this has not happened? Ignore all the important evidence that may be there, which might indicate his intentions, how he may have been radicalised, receipts, travel plans etc. None of us knows the full story yet, this man may be motivated by some sense of duty or altruism, or his motivations may be twisted by radicalism,.... we don't know and should not judge too soon, but the authorities have a duty of care to him, us, his family and national security to find out.
norman.d in bangor wrote (73 days ago):
Young people are easily brainwashed into these terror groups thinking they will be martyrs these people use religion for their evil deeds and break every commandment God expects us all to live by if this evil is not stopped it will spread into Europe and Britain
Brian in Belfast wrote (73 days ago):
All for religion. We're all better off without it. It causes nothing but trouble all over the world including NI.
Ryan in Derry wrote (73 days ago):
as if his family isnt in enough stress to also have so called community police offers raiding his family's home
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