‘Isil supporters’ target children on Facebook

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PUPILS have been warned not to accept friend requests on Facebook from profiles claiming to be linked to the terror group Isil.

An email sent out to schools and communities from PC Maria Carrick, from Hampshire police’s youth engagement team, said some pupils had reported receiving requests on the social media site.

It comes just more than a week since the gun bomb attack in Paris that left 129 dead and hundreds injured. Isis, also known as Isil and the so-called Islamic State, has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Hundreds of people paid tribute to those who died at a vigil in Guildhall Square, Portsmouth, on Friday.

PC Carrick’s email said: ‘Education establishments and young people in Hampshire and IOW of suspicious “friend” requests being made through social media accounts; describing those making contact as being from “ISIS”

‘Recipients of these “friend” requests have reported that the names of those making contact are “unusual” and have “funny” symbols.

‘It is not yet clear if these requests are specifically intended to target young people or that this is an issue being encountered by people of all ages?

‘In response to this information, safeguarding young and vulnerable people is our priority; raising awareness of the matter both directly, and through parents, carers and relevant professionals.

‘Our advice to you is to make young and vulnerable people aware of this risk; speak to them, reassure them that they can speak to you, and warn them NOT to accept friend requests from ANY person they don’t know, particularly from those who appear to be linked to extremist groups.

‘This message is one step of a broad plan to ensure we raise awareness in order to keep young people in Hampshire and IOW informed and safe; our plan includes further investigation and ongoing communication of information as it becomes available.

‘If you have any concerns or require further advice, please contact us:schoolyouthengagement@hampshire.pnn.police.uk.’

Police have issued a statement this afternooon saying the men who contacted the pupils ‘are probably not ISIS members.’