Australia open to return of militants’ children

Malcolm Turnbull
Malcolm Turnbull

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull

:: Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Monday said the country was open to the possibility of the return of children of militants who are fighting with the Islamic State (IS) in the Middle East.

Turnbull made the remarks at a press conference here and said these children will remain under strict supervision, Efe news reported. Turnbull made these statements when asked about Australian militant Khaled Sharrouf’s six-year-old son, who was photographed with a human body hanging from a cross to promote IS.

The photo, released on Sunday night, shows a poster hanging from the victim’s neck that reads “The Crime: Collaborating with Christians. The Punishment: Execution”. The leader called the photo disgusting and a show of “the depths of barbarity, of cruelty, of savagery, that (Islamic State) have sunk to”.

It is not the first time that Sharrouf used his children for an IS campaign since he went to Syria in 2013 where his wife Tara Nettleton, who died of appendicitis in 2016, and his five children later joined him. One of his children appeared with a belt of explosives, making threats against Australia in a video intercepted two weeks ago by intelligence services, while in another photo from the year 2014 he was seen holding a decapitated head.

The children’s grandfather, Karen Nettleton, sought their return to Australia. “All of the children that are being exploited in this way, if they are Australian citizens, of course, would be able to return to Australia, but under the closest possible supervision and observation,” said Turnbull.

“I can assure you that we will leave no stone unturned in protecting Australians from those people who return from that conflict zone,” he added. Australia raised the terror alert for the country to high in September 2014 and has implemented several anti-terror laws to prevent terror attacks on its territory. Since then the country has witnessed four violent acts and has foiled other 12 attack plans.

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