News / Asia

Australia Targets Homegrown Terrorists

Phil Mercer

Australian police have issued arrest warrants for two Australian Islamic State fighters after one of them is pictured online brandishing the severed heads of Syrian government soldiers. 

The two suspects have been identified by Australian police as Khaled Sharrouf and Mohamed Elomar.

They are thought to be with the radical Islamic State fighters in Syria.

Photographs posted on social media showed Elomar holding severed heads in his hands, and he boasts that he would cut the throats of infidels.

Notorious Australians

The two men from Sydney are considered to be the two most notorious Australians fighting with the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.
 
Neil Gaughan, Australia’s deputy federal police commissioner, said the two are now wanted on terrorism-related charges.

“Words don't adequately describe how abhorrent those photographs are," Gaughan said.

"In 30 years of policing, it is probably one of the worst things, if not the worst thing, I have seen. The Australian government, rightly so, came out very strongly on Friday criticizing in the very strongest possible terms the type of behavior that those two gentlemen are allegedly involved in," he said.

"(We) can assure the Australian community that we have current first instance warrants for their arrest and as soon as they set foot on Australian soil they will be taken into custody," Gaughan said.

It is understood that Elomar and Sharrouf had links to a teenager from the Australian city of Melbourne. 

Authorities said that 18-year old Adam Dahman blew himself up in Baghdad in a suicide bombing that killed five people last week.

Dahman was questioned by Australia’s intelligence agencies before he flew to the Middle East last year. But authorities say they had insufficient powers to stop him from leaving the country.
 
In Canberra, the government is preparing new laws that would make it easier to prosecute terrorism cases.

Homegrown extremists

Australia Attorney-General George Brandis said there is a small, yet dangerous, group of homegrown extremists in his country.
 
“The one thing no Australian should ever think is that this is a problem that exists on the other side of the world, because while it may take shape on the other side of the world, the number of Australians who are participating in this war fighting in Syria and Iraq shows that this is a problem that exists and germinates within our suburbs, within the suburbs of Sydney and Melbourne and Brisbane, among a very small number of people - a very, very small number of people - but nevertheless, this is a product which has a domestic germination," Brandis said.

The Australian Security Intelligence Organization wants greater powers to monitor the phones and emails of terrorism suspects.

Organization Director-General David Irvine said, "We've always been worried about the threat of home grown terrorism. In the last 10 years we have actually stopped four mass casualty attacks occurring in Australia when we stopped them quite early in their planning stages."

The government estimated that there are 150 Australians fighting with radical groups overseas.

Richard Barrett is a former British diplomat and senior vice president of the strategic intelligence provider The Soufan Group, which advises governments on security and intelligence matters.
 
Barrett said the concern is that Western fighters in Iraq and Syria will carry out atrocities when they get back home.
 
“There has been a man, a Frenchman, who went back to Europe and killed four people outside the Jewish museum in Brussels not very long ago," Barrett said.

"He had been with the Islamic State, or the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria as it was then, for about a year beforehand. So clearly even if it is not radicalizing people to that point, their participation in that fight clearly it is attracting people who could very well commit terrorist acts back in their home countries, and I think that, you know, is a very legitimate concern," he said. 
 
Muslim groups in Australia said that organizations such as the Islamic State are winning over young people, thanks to slick online propaganda campaigns.

You May Like

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Leslie S from: Regional NSW
August 02, 2014 6:47 AM
Its about time for this Federal Government to take action against Muslims who leave Australia to fight for terrorists organizations, If this is not stopped out right who is to say that these Muslims are not preparing to do harm to Australian's on home soil, The Muslim community that reside in Australia now can not be trusted and must be watched for any home grown terrorist activity that may cause harm to law abiding citizens on home soil its time for our Federal Police to start arresting Muslims in Mosques that preach hatred and death on Australian soil if not maybe Australians need to take action our selves to protect our own country men inside Australia.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More