March 5, 2015 / 2:53 PM / 2 years ago

U.S. warns about American youths seeking Islamic State connection

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The FBI and Department of Homeland Security have warned law enforcement agencies across the country about American youths wanting to join Islamic State militants fighting in the Middle East, officials said on Thursday.

The joint intelligence bulletin was issued during the weekend and law enforcement officials said such warnings are routine.

One official said there was no increase in U.S. government threat levels, although there is heightened concern lately about recruitment of American and other foreign fighters by Islamic State, which is also known as ISIS.

A DHS official, commenting on background, said the bulletin was issued "to provide further information on the continuing trend of Western youth being inspired by ISIL to travel to Syria to participate in conflict.

"We remain concerned about the recruitment efforts made by ISIL particularly through social media engagement and we urge the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to law enforcement," the official said.

CNN reported the agencies were tracking "lots of cases" similar to that of a suburban Washington teenager suspected of helping a man get to the Middle East to join the radical group seeking to set up an Islamic caliphate.

A 17-year-old boy was taken into custody in Woodbridge, Virginia, on Friday after more than a month of surveillance, according to the Washington Post.

Sources told the newspaper investigators believe the boy used online contacts to make travel arrangements for a man to go to Syria to join Islamic State.

Writing by Bill Trott; Editing by Susan Heavey and Alan Crosby

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