Known Australian foreign fighters Mohamed Elomar and Khaled Sharrouf have reportedly died in combat with Islamic State (ISIS) in northern Iraq.
The ABC reports a person close to one of the men’s families said the pair had been fighting in Mosul when they were killed, while another source said they were informed the pair were killed by a drone strike in the past week.
Elomar’s remains have reportedly been recovered, while Sharrouf’s body has not been recovered. The Australian goverment is having difficulty confirming the men’s deaths as the city of Mosul is a no-go zone.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Australian security agencies had not yet been able to confirm the men’s deaths.
“Our security, intelligence and law enforcement agencies will be working to verify these reports, but I stress it’s very difficult to gain the information necessary given that it is a war zone,” she said.
“Australians should not be there and again we stress that any Australian thinking of going to Syria or Iraq or to the Middle East to support Daesh, to support this brutal terrorist organisation, should not go.”
Elomar and Sharrouf, who used his brother’s passport, left Australia in 2013, travelling first to Syria and then to Iraq.
The pair became known to the Australian public when infamous photos of the men, and Sharrouf’s 7-year-old son, holding the severed heads of Syrian soldiers were posted to social media.
Sharrouf used social media on multiple occassions while fighting with ISIS, praising and encouraging Australian and other foreign fighters.
His family was forced to shut down operations at their Sydney-based money transfer business after failing to provide evidence that money sent to the Middle East was not funding terrorism activities.
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