Police warn that jihadi fighters may return to Australia following the defeat of ISIS in Iraq

Photo: Daniel Munoz/ Getty Images.

Iraq claimed victory over ISIS on the weekend, after more than three years of fighting.

Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi announced his forces were in full control of the country’s border with Syria.

The news has Australian police concerned that jihadi fighters may try to return and pose a terrorism threat as Australia enters peak terror season.

Victoria Police’s officer in charge of counter-terrorism, ­assistant commissioner Ross Guenther,
told The Australian the Five Eyes intelligence community fears the dissipation of the caliphate increases the risk of an attack on home soil.

“Their concern is that the tempo will increase. As people return across the borders, that risk is going to escalate,” he said, adding that the holiday period was the most dangerous time of the year in Australia and Europe.

The Five Eyes network — Australia, the US, New Zealand, Canada and Britain — will gather in Melbourne today to discuss the latest terrorism insights.

Also today, the Victorian government is due to confirm its decision to install a loudspeaker alert system in the Melbourne CBD, including in Federation Square, Flinders Street Station and the Bourke Street Mall, to warn and advise people what to do in the face of a terror attack.

In 2008, the NSW Government spent at least $1.8 million rolling out the Sydney CBD emergency warning system. It uses 98 loud speakers and 13 messaging signs located throughout the city to warn citizens in the event of an emergency.

Yesterday, Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull congratulated Iraq, saying: “Their bravery in the face of unimaginable brutality has made the region and the world a safer place.”

The government will now review Australia’s future military commitment in Iraq with coalition partners and Baghdad.

The latest rotation of about 300 Australian troops, along with 100 New Zealand troops, were deployed to Iraq in recent weeks and are scheduled to remain there until the middle of 2018.

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