Isis targets Australian teenagers to join 'death cult' amid fears they will be used as cannon fodder

PM says too many are brainwashed online as two radicalised brothers arrested at Sydney Airport

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Fears that Isis is luring Aussie teenagers to the Middle East are rising as the government urges youngsters to "block your ears".

Two Australian brothers have been intercepted at Sydney airport, amid concerns that the extremist terror group is recruiting young people as cannon fodder.

The boys, aged 16 and 17, attempted to fly to an unidentified 'conflict zone' in the Middle East on Friday.

But the brothers, from south-west Sydney, were arrested after the counter-terrorism unit raised suspicions with objects in their luggage.

The boys had become radicalised jihadists over the internet and officials said their parents were “as shocked as any of us would be” when they were told their children planned to join the violent terrorist group.

The news comes after a western teenager pictured alongside Islamic State group fighters – originally dubbed by the media as 'Britain’s white jihadi' - is an 18-year-old from Australia who converted to Islam.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said: "These were two misguided young Australians, Australian-born and-bred, who went to school here, grew up here, imbibed our values, and yet it seems they had succumbed to the lure of the death cult and they were on the verge of doing something terrible and dangerous.

"I'm pleased that they've been stopped and my message to anyone who is listening to the death cult is ‘block your ears.'”

 

Around 140 Australians have travelled to fight with IS and other terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq, with another 150 supporting them at home, the government has said.

The boys, who have not been named because of their age, were arrested by Australian Federal Police officers on Friday and released into the custody of their parents.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said: "These two young men aged 16 and 17 are kids, not killers, and they shouldn't be allowed to go to a foreign land to fight then come back to our land eventually more radicalised.”

The double-arrest comes as 18-year-old Jake, from Melbourne, is identified as the timid-looking teen sitting between two Isis fighters in a picture released in December last year.

Doubts about the authenticity of the picture arose after a blogger claimed he had fabricated the image as a hoax. 

But Australia's Fairfax Media said the photograph had now been positively identified by friends of the teenager and members of two mosques in Melbourne.

It identified him as a former high-achieving 18-year-old student called Jake, declining to reveal his full name at the request of a family member.

He was described as a maths whiz who attended the Craigieburn Secondary College in Melbourne but dropped out in the middle of last year after converting to Islam and buying a one-way ticket to Istanbul en route to Iraq and Syria.

When the image first emerged late last year, the militant group, which has run rampant through Iraq and Syria, hailed his recruitment as "a major coup".

Former immigration minister Scott Morrison said the case showed indoctrination was happening in unexpected places.

"It's very hard to make assumptions on who's going to fall prey to the death cult," he said of IS, adding that the government needed "every available tool to stop people joining the fight overseas".

Attorney General George Brandis said Islamic State militants are using Australian recruits as "cannon fodder".

Comments