WASHINGTON - Three teenage girls from Denver who had been missing since last week and were reported to be traveling to Turkey were picked up in Germany and sent back home, US officials said on Tuesday.
Voice of America reported this week that one of the girls told German authorities they were on their way to Turkey, which has been considered a principal transit route for foreigners looking to fight with Islamist militants in Syria.
US officials declined to say if they suspected a link between the girls and militants in the region. A spokeswoman for the FBI's Denver office, Suzie Payne, said only that the juveniles have been reunited with their families, and that her office had helped bring them home.
German border police confirmed that three American citizens were taken into protective custody on Sunday at Frankfurt airport at the request of their parents and the US consulate, and said the three willingly returned to the United States.
ABC News said earlier on Tuesday that US authorities believed the girls were trying to travel to Syria, which has become a magnet for foreigners seeking to join militant groups.