Over 400 Australians named on a terror watchlist as suspected jihadists trying to enter Syria to join ISIS! Reminder: our trusted political-clowns used to tell us its less than 100!
MORE than 400 Australians have been named on a terror watchlist as suspected jihadists trying to enter Syria to fight for ISIS.
It’s a massive increase from 2014 when just 90 Australians were named on the Turkish watchlist – a jump of nearly 350 per cent.
A senior Turkish official has told the ABC the list, which identifies suspected jihadists likely to attempt to join ISIS’s campaign in Syria through Turkey, now includes 420 Australians.
About 180 Australians entered the region in 2015 and another 150 joined last year.
Justice Minister Michael Keenan has confirmed the government shared intelligence with Turkey about suspected fighters who had left Australia.
“I don’t want to comment on a specific number but certainly if we had information about an Australian who we haven’t been able to stop leaving Australia or they’ve left Australia and subsequently we’ve got further information about their intentions, then we will talk to the Turks about that,” Mr Keenan told the ABC.
“If they can stop any Australian going to the conflict zone then that is obviously a good thing,” he said.
The Turkish Government has also reportedly begun extradition proceedings for Australian terrorist Neil Prakash.
It’s understood Prakash has been accused of foreign incursion, membership of a terrorist organisation and recruitment.
Minister Keenan declined to comment on the details but said Turkey was “very aware” of Australia’s interest in his case.
“If we were to prosecute anybody for those crimes, and I won’t comment on the individual, but if we were to prosecute anyone for those crimes the penalties in Australia are as severe as they can be — life imprisonment,” he said.
Earlier this year, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop warned in Parliament there were concerns that about 600 foreign terrorist fighters from South East Asia currently in Iraq and Syria could return to the Asia-Pacific region after the ISIS was defeated.
Meanwhile, The Australian reports today that more than 20 known or suspected foreign terrorists have been blocked from entering Australia via a new biometric data system.
The terror suspects were caught trying to enter the country using business and short-term holiday visas.
They were caught when biometric data was shared across the Five Eyes intelligence network and compared to watch lists in the US, UK, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.
It’s understood a Pakistani, an African-born European and a Sudanese-born Bosnian were among the suspects.
101 East explores why so many young Australians are risking their lives on the brutal front lines of Syria and Iraq.