MOSCOW, July 21 (RIA Novosti) – Australia has confirmed that a teen suicide bomber who recently blew himself up outside an Iraqi mosque was its citizen, raising new concerns about the jihadi threat at home once battle-hardened and indoctrinated nationals return from Middle East hotspots.
Australia's Attorney-General George Brandis released a statement Monday, saying the involvement of Australians in the Iraqi conflict was a “disturbing development” that posed ”a significant domestic security threat to Australia when those involved return home and seek to pursue violence here.”
An 18-year-old man detonated an explosive vest in Baghdad on Thursday killing himself and several other people. The Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), in an affiliated tweet, claimed responsibility for the suicide attack and identified the assailant as Abu Bakr al-Australi, according to the BBC.
“The government deplores the violent actions being undertaken by ISIL [ISIS] and other extremist groups in Iraq and Syria, and is deeply concerned about the involvement of Australians in these activities,” Brandis said.
This confirmation came after last week the country’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the government was doing everything in its power to discourage young Australians from becoming indoctrinated and going to fight overseas.
According to CNN, as many as 300 Australians are believed to be fighting alongside jihadi militants in Syria.
In an interview with CNN in June, US President Barack Obama warned of the threat that Western-born jihadists travelling to the Middle East could pose on their return home.
“There is no doubt the problem in Syria is one that we have been paying a lot of attention to over the last couple of years as you see jihadists coming in from Europe and as far as Australia to get trained and then going back into their home countries,” Obama stressed.
Young Australians, as well as Britons and other Westerners, are being recruited by ISIS and the like through recruitment videos posted online, while many militia groups have taken to social media, calling on young Muslims worldwide to seek martyrdom in the struggle against the Syrian and Iraqi governments.