Scotland Yard has issued an urgent appeal to find three boys aged six, five and three who have been abducted from their foster home.
Bilal Safi, six, Mohammed Ebrar Safi, five, and Mohammed Yaseen Safi, three, were taken from the home in Coulsdon, south London, on Thursday 20 August.
Specialist detectives have launched a hunt for their father, Imran Safi, 26, who is said to have threatened their foster carer with a knife and forcibly taken the boys, who have not been seen since.
Scotland Yard said the children were playing in the garden while their foster carer was in the house at 6pm on 20 August.
The foster carer, who told officers Safi threatened her with a knife, did not suffer any serious physical injuries in the incident but was “understandably distressed”, police said.
An all-ports alert has been issued for Safi, an Afghan national with links to Pakistan.
Scotland Yard is appealing for information regarding the movements of a red Nissan Qashqai car, registration PK13 WFO, last Thursday afternoon in the Croydon area. Anyone with a dashcam who may have noticed the vehicle is urged to check their footage. Anyone else who spotted the car should contact police.
Eight people arrested on suspicion of involvement in the abduction have been bailed to a later date.
It is not believed there is an immediate risk to the children’s physical safety but detectives are “increasingly concerned” about their wellbeing.
Commander Jon Savell said: “Our absolute priority at this moment in time is the welfare of these three children. They have been taken from a place of safety and we are growing increasingly concerned. More than 100 officers are working to bring these children home safely.”
Ch Supt Dave Stringer, the commander of the South Area Basic Command Unit, said: “This incident involved the use of a weapon and violence and we are incredibly concerned for these three young, vulnerable children who are now being hidden by an individual who may be armed with a knife.
“We know there are people with detailed knowledge of the whereabouts of these children, and we fully appreciate there may be very good reasons for those individuals not wanting to come forward. But right now I would strongly urge them to do the right thing and assist us.”
Anyone who may have information regarding the red Nissan Qashqai or believes they have seen Safi and his children since 20 August is asked to contact detectives immediately on 07942 599374.