An Iraqi news website is reporting that a 40 year-old Sydney man fighting with Islamic State has risen to the ranks of military commander, compelling Australian intelligence agencies to investigate.
The man, who goes by the name Abu Yahya ash Shami, has reportedly been given command of the town of Jalula in northern Iraq after proving his allegiance to the terrorist faction by beheading four people, The Australian reported.
ASIO is believed to be investigating the claims alleged on the Iraqi news site, which were offered up by a local source.
“The Australian was fighting in the front of Deir al-Zour (in Syria) before arriving to Jalula,” the source told the website. “The new commander beheaded four militants belonging to different factions (who) were detained a week ago because they refused to swear allegiance to Baghdadi.”
The reports have not been substantiated and the allegations may be a case of mistaken identity. The pseudonym used by the website has been linked to another Australian Islamic State export, Zakaryah Raad, who was killed while fighting abroad.
In recent weeks, PM Tony Abbott and Attorney-General George Brandis have warned of Australians travelling overseas to join Islamic State fighting.