Thursday 20th August 2015 - 7:30 pm

Death cult still luring young Australians:PM

by Alan Thornhill

Tony Abbott says the interception of seven young Australians, on their way to join terrorists in the Middle East, shows the need for vigorous action to counter this threat.

Border control officers identified and stopped five of the men, said to be in their late 20s and early 30s in the departure area at Sydney airport last week.

The two others were stopped at a separate time.

They had a large amount of cash in their luggage.

But neither the Prime Minister, who spoke briefly of the matter, or his Immigration Minister, Peter Dutton, would give any more than the barest details of the case.

The Prime Minister spoke to reporters, as he arrived for a cricket match in Canberra today.

He said the seven young would-be jihadists were apparently planning to join terrorist groups in the Middle East.

“This indicates the continuing allure of this death cult,” Mr Abbott said.

“It shows the importance of the most vigorous action at home and abroad to disrupt, to degrade and to destroy this menace to the freedom and the security of the world,” he added.

His Immigration Minister, Peter Dutton, later confirmed later that border authorities had identified and stopped the would-be terrorists.

But he refused to elaborate, beyond saying investigations are under way and he would not be giving a running commentary.

The two groups are said to be separate, but connected.

In both cases, the young men involved made a second attempt to leave Australia the day after they were stopped at the airport for the first time.

Mr Dutton said counter-terrorism units had played a vital role.

“The intercepts that they undertake means that these people do not go into the theatre of war, they do not go into countries like Syria or Iraq to be trained up in terrorism activities and then come back here to perform those acts here on Australian soil,” he said.

“This highlights again the fact that this threat to our country remains current and ongoing.”

Mr Dutton said that in the previous financial year, more than 350 people were stopped trying to travel to the Middle East.

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Alan Thornhill

Alan Thornhill is a parliamentary press gallery journalist.
Private Briefing is updated daily with Australian personal finance news, analysis, and commentary.

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