In late October, two 18-year-old men from the Welsh town of Cardiff were arrested on Kenya’s border with war-torn Somalia. The father of one of them told the BBC he believed his son had been “brainwashed” and was on his way to join an Islamic holy war.

Kenyan authorities quickly sent the two men, both British citizens of Somali extraction, back to Britain. After questioning by police, they were released without charge.

The arrests, which occurred just as Kenyan security forces launched an air and ground incursion into Somalia, shone a light on an increasing concern for British and U.S. counter-terrorism experts — the interest of young British Muslims in joining al Shabaab.

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