A woman who went missing with her four children sparking fears she had travelled to Syria to join Islamic State was arrested on her return to the UK.

Zahera Tariq, 33, from Waltham Forest in east London was arrested on her arrival at Luton Airport, on 3 September, on suspicion of child abduction, the Metropolitan Police said.

Police made an appeal for information after the family went missing the previous week. They were detained in Turkey on 1 September, and the four children are in police protection. The woman and her four children, aged four to 12, were last seen on 25 August boarding a flight to Amsterdam from London City Airport, the Met Police said. Later, police found CCTV footage of the family at the airport.

Police launched an appeal for information "due to concerns she [the woman] was intending to travel to Syria with her children." Jihadist group Islamic State controls large parts of Syria.

On 1 September, UK police were told by Turkish authorities that the family had been detained in Turkey. A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: "Officers from the Met's counterterrorism command (SO15) have arrested a 33-year-old woman at Luton Airport on suspicion of child abduction.

"The woman was arrested at approximately 7.45pm as she was entering the UK, having just disembarked a flight from Istanbul, Turkey. Her four children with whom she was travelling were taken into police protection. Enquiries continue."

Scotland Yard believes that more than 40 women and girls travelled to join IS in the Middle East last year.