Rudd: Re­turn­ing fight­ers ‘big threat’

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD -

CAN­BERRA, Aus­tralia — For­mer prime min­is­ter Kevin Rudd on Tues­day said that Aus­tralian au­thor­i­ties must con­tinue to mon­i­tor the re­turn of Is­lamic State for­eign fight­ers after po­lice foiled a terror plot to bring down an Aus­tralian plane ear­lier this week.

The plot, which would have in­volved ei­ther tak­ing a bomb or a deadly gas on board a flight — pos­si­bly one from Jakarta to Syd­ney — was foiled by po­lice on Sun­day and re­sulted in the ar­rest of at least four peo­ple in Syd­ney.

Speak­ing to Sky News on Tues­day, Rudd said while au­thor­i­ties would be mon­i­tor­ing chan­nels be­tween the Mid­dle East and Aus­tralia for re­turn­ing for­eign fight­ers, a lot of em­pha­sis must be placed on mon­i­tor­ing those who at­tempt to re­turn to Aus­tralia via South­east Asia.

“In Aus­tralia, what we need to look at so care­fully right now, is what is hap­pen­ing in terms of the re­turn of for­eign fight­ers to South East Asia and into In­done­sia, in par­tic­u­lar,” Rudd said.

“That is the thing which con­cerns me the most. Ob­vi­ously, in terms of what has hap­pened in Aus­tralia and in terms of the al­leged bomb­ing ef­fort against an Aus­tralian air­craft, I haven’t been briefed, but this may be part of the broader re­ac­tion to IS being squeezed out of the Mid­dle East.”

Mean­while, Abu Dhabi’s Eti­had Air­ways said on Tues­day it was help­ing Aus­tralian po­lice with an in­ves­ti­ga­tion that po­lice be­gan into the “Is­lamic-in­spired” plot.

Po­lice have not iden­ti­fied the air­line that was al­legedly tar­geted in the plot, nor the spe­cific means that were to be used to bring it down, other than to say it in­volved an “im­pro­vised de­vice”.

US of­fi­cials, on con­di­tion of anonymity, said a for­eign in­tel­li­gence ser­vice had in­ter­cepted com­mu­ni­ca­tions be­tween the plot­ters in Syd­ney and mem­bers of the IS group in Syria. The of­fi­cials de­clined to iden­tify the for­eign in­tel­li­gence ser­vice.

An­other two US of­fi­cials, fa­mil­iar with the ar­rests, said a de­vel­op­ing plot had been de­tected. One of them said the plot was “fairly well along” when it was dis­rupted by Aus­tralian au­thor­i­ties.

This may be part of the broader re­ac­tion to IS being squeezed out of the Mid­dle East.” Kevin Rudd, for­mer Aus­tralian prime min­is­ter

KAI PFAFFENBACH/ REUTERS

A woman takes part in the an­nual Se­aboot Race in Hast­ings, United King­dom, on Mon­day. The event is in me­mory of Peter Trick­ett, a well-known char­ac­ter around the town who died in 2002. The first race was held to raise funds for his fu­neral.

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