A report was released on Wednesday March 25 according to which 230 suspected jihadists were denied departure in Australian airports this month, preventing them to travel to the Middle East. Among the suspects there were 3 teenage boys.
Two brothers from Sydney, one 16 and the 17 years old attempted to leave Australia on March 8. They were caught at the Sydney International Airport as they were trying to board a flight to Turkey without their parents’ consent. The two brothers were sent back to their parents and now kept under investigation.
One week later, another 17-year-old boy was intercepted at the same airport. He was suspected of wanting to travel to the Middle East and denied departure. Border Protection Minister Peter Dutton stated the teenager was also returned to his family but that he remains under investigation.
In August of last year, counterterrorism units have been sent to patrol in Australian airports. Since then, 86,000 travelers have been inquired and 230 people stopped from leaving the country due to suspicions that they wanted to join Islamic State fighters on the battlefields of Iraq and Syria.
There are various theories regarding why the extremist group successfully recruits Australians. According to the International Center for the Study of Radicalization and Political Violence, between 100 and 250 Australians have been recruited as Sunni fighters in Iraq and Syria. Another 100 people managed to join the group after flying from the United States.
The Islamic State though about the obstacles their recruits might encounter and according to Sydney’s Daily Telegraph newspaper, it posted a video on March 14 (two days after the last 17-year-old boy had been intercepted) on the subject of how to successfully leave one’s country to join the extremist group.
The video is the form of a step-by-step guide that includes tips on how to use an Islamic State support network and take advantage of security cracks to successfully leave the country.
It seems the same support network was used by and 18-year-old teenager, Jake Bilardi, who flew from Melbourne in August 2015 to join other Islamic State fighters. He managed to get past security agencies and leave the country.
He was supposedly involved in a suicide bombing that took place in Iraq last month.
Image Source: The Guardian