Nazir Afzal said “jihadimania” is worse than previously thought and is luring youngsters conned by the image to Syria.

And those who do not managed to travel are a “ticking time bomb” for the security services and police here, he warned.

More than 600 Britons are feared to have travelled to Syria with many joining the terror group Isil.

They include young teenage boys and girls who have either gone to become soldiers or “jihadi brides”.

Isil’s alleged British executioner Mohammed Emwazi was already dubbed “Jihadi John” in reference to the “Beatles” nickname given to him and his fellow British captors by their hostages.

But Mr Afzal said the pop music image is more widespread and risks luring and radicalising many more young Britons.

“The boys want to be like them and the girls want to be with them,” he said in an interview with The Guardian.

“That’s what they used to say about the Beatles and more recently One Direction and Justin Bieber. The propaganda the terrorists put out is akin to marketing, and too many of our teenagers are falling for the image.”

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