Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has agreed to share intelligence on Australians fighting with the Islamic State in Iraq, the ABC reports.
Last Saturday, Bishop became the first Australian foreign minister to visit Iran in 12 years after her meeting with President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran. The new intelligence sharing deal hopes to counter IS efforts by tracking Australians, also known as Daesh.
— Hassan Rouhani (@HassanRouhani) April 18, 2015
“It was an informal arrangement whereby we’d share intelligence that would give us information on the Australians who are taking part,” she said.
“I believe Iran has information that we would seek and they were very agreeable to share that information with us.”
Concerns about Australians joining the extremist group and the allure of IS propaganda have been spurred after the AFP arrested three men last Saturday for allegedley planning an IS-inspired terrorist attack on ANZAC day.
Tony Abbott also issued a warning against foreign fighters after model-turned-jihadist Sharky Jama was reportedley killed in the Hasakah province of Syria after joining the IS last year, SBS has reported.
“You are a danger to others, you are a danger to yourself. Don’t do it,” Abbott said on Thursday.
Bishop believes that Iran’s long-standing relationship with Iraq and strong military presence will give Australians an edge to de-radicalise the pulling power of the extremist group.
“They also have an influence over the Shia militia, who are operating within Iraq, and we had a discussion about the Shia militia and their role.
“They are in Iraq in places that we are not. They also have a very sophisticated intelligence network and there is a lot of information that they’ve been gathering.”
Bishop has warned Australians against travelling to Iraq and Syria to join the Islamic State saying “they are putting their lives at risk”.
“Our strong warning to any Australian considering coming over to take part in this conflict is don’t do it.”
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