Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Thursday praised Australian Border Protection and counter-terrorism for their quick action in preventing 7 suspected Jihadists from leaving Australia to join ISIS in the Middle East.
“We have stopped at the airport seven young Australians who were planning to travel to the Middle East, it seems, to join terrorist groups over there,” said Abbott in a media statement and continued to say that, ” [This incident] indicates the continuing allure of this death cult (Islamic State)”.
According to The Sydney Daily Telegraph five of the men tried to leave the country as a group through Sydney Airport and was booked on a flight to Malaysia on 12th August.
But it was large amounts of cash carried by every person in the group that apparently sent the alarm bells ringing.
Citing an intelligence source, the report said some of the suspects were known to authorities and their passports were immediately suspended under new laws that came into effect this year.
In response Abbott would not confirm the details, calling it an “operational matter” but praised the border force and counter-terrorism units at airports for doing their jobs in this “particularly important and significant way”.
Earlier reports state that the here are some 120 Australians still fighting in Iraq and Syria, while at least 30 have been killed.
There are also believed to be about 160 sympathisers at home who send money to those fighting overseas and help drum up moral support.
Last year Australia raised its terror threat level to high and has conducted several counter-terrorism raids in various cities since then.
The government has also passed a number of national security laws and in June introduced legislation to strip dual nationals of their Australian citizenship for terrorism links.
Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said he was worried about the number of young Australians seeking to fight overseas, “We are concerned about the number of people presenting at airports, particularly younger people, who might be seeking to travel overseas for reasons that would horrify Australians and their parents and family and community no doubt as well.”