It is unconscionable, inexcusable, to let these Mohammedan savages return to Australia after the crimes they have committed while fighting for the Islamic state. We must keep them out at all cost.
Security agencies are preparing for an onslaught of Australian jihadists returning from fighting with groups such as Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. (source)
A new Lowy Institute report said the number of jihadists seeking to return to Australia would rise after Islamic State suffered military defeats and lost territory from its self-declared caliphate.
It is estimated as many as 100 Australians are fighting in Iraq and Syria and experts fear they could use the combat skills acquired there in terrorist operations back here.
Airstrikes led by the US and Russia helped roll back the self-declared caliphate to a point where its two main cities — Raqqa in Syria and Mosul in Iraq — were under threat.
The more ground it loses, the more its foreign fighters look to leave.
“Some of them will be seeking to come back to Australia,” Lowy Institute research fellow Rodger Shanahan said.
“What their intent when they come back to Australia is, that’s going to be another thing that’s going to exercise the minds of the security agencies.”
Dr Shanahan also co-wrote a study into Australian jihadists in Syria and Iraq, and he said the dangerous combat skills these fighters had acquired were a huge concern for security agencies.
“[They have acquired] the ability to plan, an awareness of operational security — so it makes them harder to track — and other more practical issues like bomb-making skills, an awareness of how you conduct planning and execution of an attack,” he said.
“[They have] a range of skill sets that some of the groups that we’ve seen previously in the region oversees and some of the people in Australia have lacked to date.”
Turkey key in Syria conflict
Jihadists with these types of skills have wreaked havoc in Europe and other parts of the world.
The deadly attacks in Paris and Belgium were either planned or carried out by radicals who had received training in Iraq and Syria.
The Lowy Institute report called on Australian authorities to work closely with countries like Turkey to keep an eye on returning fighters.
Some may face charges if they manage to get back to Australia but Dr Shanahan said it could be difficult producing enough evidence to get convictions.
“What we don’t really know at the moment is what evidentiary basis law-enforcement agencies have on those Australians who are fighting in the region,” he said.
“It’s going to be a difficult issue to gather that kind of evidence that will stand up in a court of law so people can be prosecuted, if and when they return to Australia.
“We’ve got our first foreign fighter case that will proceed before the courts in Victoria in the future and it’s going to be interesting to see how the courts view the kind of evidence that law-enforcement agencies are able to present before a court.
“So that’s going to be one of the key issues in the month and years to come.”
An estimated 60 Australians have been killed fighting with jihadi groups in Iraq and Syria.