Portsmouth leader: ‘Authorities must stop men leaving our city to fight for terrorists’

File photo shows bombed out vehicles in a street in Aleppo, Syria
File photo shows bombed out vehicles in a street in Aleppo, Syria
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AUTHORITIES must rally together to ensure a stop is put to radicalised Muslims leaving Portsmouth for Syria.

Councillor Donna Jones, leader of Portsmouth City Council, has issued the plea after another man from the city was killed fighting for Isil in the war-torn country.

Mehdi Hassan, 19, a former pupil at St John’s College in Southsea, went to Syria last year with a group who named themselves the ‘Britani Brigade Bangladeshi Bad Boys.’

It has emerged he was killed fighting for the terrorist organisation Isil in the battle for Kurdish town Kobane.

Hassan is now the fourth jihadi from Portsmouth to be killed in Syria within the last year.

Cllr Jones said: ‘It is a concern that a fourth man from Portsmouth has been confirmed dead.

‘It’s important that the city council, the police and the Muslim community in Portsmouth all work together to make sure there is an end to this and no other British man travels to Syria to fight for Isil.

‘The police terrorism team in Scotland Yard are working diligently on this.’

Manunur Roshid, 24, from Buckland, was killed on Friday, October 17.

Mahammud Rahman, 25, a Primark worker, died in August and Ifthekar Jaman, 23, the first from Portsmouth to travel to Syria, died in December.

In a statement, Hassan’s family said he had a ‘good heart’ and considered coming home.

‘Mehdi was a loving boy with a good heart wishing to help Syrians,’ they said.

‘In recent months he had expressed the intention to return home, but was worried about the repercussions.

‘This is a tragedy and a lesson.’

Abdul Jalil, committee chairman of Jami Mosque, in Southsea, condemned the actions of the men.

Mr Jalil said: ‘They have been brainwashed and they have been influenced by someone.

‘It is very difficult and we are working hard with the crime prevention team and Portsmouth City Council.

‘We are telling our youngsters not to go there. It is a dangerous place.’

Cllr Jones reiterated the consequences of British citizens joining Isil – and that they could face a life in prison should they return.

‘A number of documents have been produced explaining to people the consequences of fighting in Syria,’ she said.

‘If these people return to the UK they face life imprisonment and by that I mean they will never walk the streets free again and they could have their British citizenship revoked.

‘We need to send out a strong message.’

A Foreign Office spokesman said: ‘We are aware of reports of the death of a British national in Syria.

‘The UK has advised for some time against all travel to Syria, where all UK consular services are suspended.

‘As we do not have any representation in Syria, it is extremely difficult to get any confirmation of deaths or injuries and our options for supporting British nationals there are extremely limited.’