Threat to Australia real after call for lone wolf attacks: PM
THE threat of a terror attack in Australia is “real”, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said after the Islamic State group urged followers to target Sydney’s beachside Bondi and the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Responding to an Englishlanguage online magazine that singled out prominent Australian locations at which to kill people, Mr Turnbull said it was a “disturbing reminder” of the security situation.
“We have a threat level of ‘probable’, so it is a real threat,” he said on September 6 when speaking to reporters in Vientiane, Laos.
“The capacity of Daesh, of course, is much less than they proclaim it to be but we do have to be very alert to the actions of these lone actors,” he said, using another name for the Islamic State.
The first edition of the magazine Rumiyah released in English online on September 5 called for attacks on the streets of Brunswick and Broadmeadows in Melbourne and Bondi in Sydney.
“Kill them at the MCG, the SCG [Sydney Cricket Ground], the Opera House, and even in their backyards,” it said.
Mr Turnbull said IS jihadists would “resort to terrorist activities outside of the Middle East” as they came under more pressure on the battlefield in Syria and Iraq.
In relation to so-called “lone wolf ” attackers, he said some individuals could be radicalised very quickly “and engage in very destructive, lethal conduct”.
“Every time there is a terrorist incident anywhere in the world we learn as much as we can about it and then take those learnings to keep Australians more safe.”
Australia’s Justice Minister Michael Keenan said the latest threat did not change the fundamentals in Australia, where the terror threat was lifted to high in 2014.
“This is not the first time that IS has called for attacks in Australia and I don’t think it will be the last,” he told the Nine Network.
Officials say they have stopped 10 terror attacks in Australia in the past two years.
Police chief for the state of Victoria Graham Ashton said while it was the first time such threats had been published in English rather than Arabic, the magazine “appears to be propaganda”.
Mr Ashton said while police were taking the comments seriously, there was nothing to suggest any specific threat to the places mentioned.
“If anything arises then we’ll obviously be acting on it, but at this stage there is nothing of any concern,” he told reporters. –
A handout picture made available by the US Navy on January 13 shows Riverine command boats from the Riverine Detachment 23 during a maritime air support operations centre exercise in the Arabian Sea.
Malcolm Turnbull wants Australia to be on the alert.