RABAT, Morocco (AP) — Morocco's government says a father has been detained as he tried to take his two small daughters to join the Islamic State group.

The group has been recruiting women and families as it seeks to create a state in Syria and Iraq. Morocco has been a large source of recruits for extremist groups.

The Moroccan state news agency MAP, quoting an Interior Ministry statement, reported Thursday that the Moroccan man was detained at the Casablanca airport on Wednesday with a 2-year-old and 4-year-old, both French citizens. Their French mother was not with them, it said.

The ministry statement said the man and the children were heading to Turkey to join the Islamic State group. Turkey is a major transit point for those joining the group in neighboring Syria.