Prime Minister Tony Abbott today revealed something the police so far haven’t spoken about following this morning’s counter-terrorism raids: a link between the targets of the police action and the Islamic State leadership in the Middle East.
With authorities repeatedly stating in recent weeks that 100 Australians are believed to be active supporters of ISIS, it was always likely that the targets of this morning’s raids that resulted in 15 arrests had a connection with – or at least sympathy for – the group whose increasingly bold actions in Syria and Iraq have horrified the world.
It emerged earlier that the plan police disrupted involved a plot to kidnap a person at random in Sydney, drape them in an ISIS flag and conduct a public beheading.
Abbott said this morning that the activity – which he described with the chilling term “demonstration killings” – had been urged by a senior ISIS figure.
That’s the intelligence we received. The exhortations, quite direct exhortations were coming from an Australian who is apparently quite senior in ISIL to networks of support back in Australia to conduct demonstration killings here in this country. So, this is not just suspicion, this is intent and that’s why the police and security agencies decided to act in the way they have.
It’s possible these “exhortations” were on some kind of general broadcast, and seized on by aligned but unconnected extremists here. But the PM’s statement that there were “direct exhortations” to “networks of support” suggests there may be a more structured link between the ISIS leadership and extremists in Australia.
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