Aus­tralia mil­i­tary pow­ers up:

Arab Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Aus­tralia’s mil­i­tary will be given greater power to act dur­ing ter­ror at­tacks, the

prime min­is­ter said Mon­day, fol­low­ing a re­view of se­cu­rity forces’ re­sponses to a spate of lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional in­ci­dents.

Among a raft of changes, po­lice will no

longer have to wait un­til they have ex­hausted their ca­pac­ity to call on the army dur­ing a ter­ror at­tack, while spe­cial forces will be em­bed­ded in law en­force­ment

agen­cies for bet­ter co­or­di­na­tion, Mal­colm Turn­bull said.

De­fence of­fi­cials will also pro­vide spe­cialised train­ing to po­lice forces as part of the mea­sures.

Although po­lice were ab­solved of blame dur­ing a 2014 Syd­ney cafe seige, in which two hostages and the gun­man were killed, an in­quest found au­thor­i­ties had un­der­es­ti­mated the threat of the hostage taker and rec­om­mended a re­view of sev­eral pro­ce­dures.

“Our en­e­mies are ag­ile and in­no­va­tive. We have to stay ahead of them,” Turn­bull told re­porters in Syd­ney.

“We have to en­sure that ev­ery re­source we have — leg­isla­tive, mil­i­tary, po­lice, in­tel­li­gence, se­cu­rity — is al­ways at the high­est stan­dard and able to be brought to bear to keep Aus­tralians safe.”

Turn­bull re­cently vis­ited the scene of the June 3 ter­ror at­tack on Lon­don Bridge and Bor­ough mar­ket in Bri­tain.

He noted the speed with which eight peo­ple — in­clud­ing two Aus­tralians — were killed in the van and knife ram­page, as well as how quickly emer­gency ser­vices re­sponded.

“It is vi­tally im­por­tant that front line po­lice have their skills im­proved to be able — and the train­ing to be able — to deal with these in­ci­dents on the spot,” he said.

Po­lice will re­main the first re­spon­ders but the changes will al­low them to work more closely with the army, he said. (AFP)

Mo­hagher Iqbal (left), chair of the Moro Is­lamic Lib­er­a­tion Front’s peace panel, and his coun­ter­part from the Gov­ern­ment Irene San­ti­ago, hold doc­u­ments fol­low­ing the sign­ing of the joint com­mu­ni­ca­tions plan for the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Bangsamoro Ba­sic Law (BBL) on July 17, in Manila, Philip­pines. The two pan­els submitted Mon­day to Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte the draft of the BBL which still needs ap­proval by the Philip­pine Congress and for rat­i­fi­ca­tion through

a plebescite. (AP)

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