The Attorney-General’s office has confirmed the Australian behind a suicide bomb attack on Thursday, near a Shiite mosque in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, was an 18-year-old man understood to be from Melbourne.
The bomber, who is known as Abu Bakr al-Australi, killed three people and injured more than 90 in the blast. There’s more on that here.
Today, the Federal Government said it believes he was 17 when he departed Australia.
Attorney-General George Brandis said the man is the second Australian suicide bomber involved in the Iraqi and Syrian conflicts.
“This is a disturbing development and is a further example of the dangerous and volatile situation in Iraq at present,” he said.
“The Government deplores the violent actions being undertaken by ISIL and other extremist groups in Iraq and Syria, and is deeply concerned about the involvement of Australians in these activities.”
There have been concerns about Australian-born jihadists heading over to join the fight in Syria and Iraq which has escalated in recent weeks with Sunni militants taking over much of the northern and western regions of Iraq.
“This is a disturbing development and is a further example of the dangerous and volatile situation in Iraq at present,” the Attorney-General said, adding, “The participation by Australians in the conflict in Iraq and Syria poses a significant domestic security threat to Australia when those involved return home and seek to pursue violence here.”
Last week ASIO director-general David Irvine said “tens” of Australians who have fought in the conflicts are already back on home soil.
Brandis said the government is taking “all necessary measures to keep Australia and Australian interests safe,” including legislation changes which would give ASIO more power to foil Australian terror cells.
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