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The federal police issued arrest warrants for Khaled Sharrouf and Mohamed Elomar, two Sydney residents who are now fighting with the Islamic State in Iraq and have threatened to kill Australian soldiers as well as all non-Muslims. Authorities estimate that 150 Australians are currently fighting in Syria and Iraq, and that about 60 of them have joined extremist groups. Attorney General George Brandis said Islamic extremism is germinating "within the suburbs of Sydney and Melbourne and Brisbane."
Outspoken Islamist cleric Musa Cerantonio arrived in Australia after being deported from the Philippines, where he had been arrested in the company of a Filipina fashion designer in Cebu. Cerantonio, who has supported the Islamic State and claimed to be traveling to Syria to join it, was freed on arrival but his passport was canceled because he has urged Australians to travel to Syria and Iraq for jihad. Police said he will be monitored.
Australia is planning to build a new ground station near Geraldton to help the US direct unmanned drone attacks on terrorists and allow Australian and American forces to respond more quickly to crises. Lawmakers are considering giving police the authority to conduct surveillance and collect evidence in war zones such as Syria and Iraq. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said in June that about 150 Australians have gone to "Syria and beyond" to fight in rebel groups. Saying the West should "just get over it," Hizb ut-Tahrir Australia spokesman Uthman Badar recently complained that Prime Minister Abbot had depicted the terror group ISIS as "evil." Popular Australian cleric Musa Cerantonio arrived in Syria to support the Islamic State.
Assistant Defense Minister Stuart Robert said that Caner Temel, who died in Syria in January while fighting for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham, was an Australian soldier who had gone AWOL in 2010. He was among six fighters allegedly recruited for al Qaeda-linked groups by Hamdi Alqudsi, 39, a disability pensioner in Granville who is also known as Ibrahim Galiel. Mohammed Ali Baryalei, an Australian suspected of working with Alqudsi, is thought to be in Turkey. Australian intelligence estimates that over 100 Australians have joined the ranks of Syrian rebels.
Australian officials admitted to a "fairly major breakdown" in border security following reports that convicted terrorist Khaled Sharrouf has fled the country. He is thought to be now in Syria. Up to 200 Australians are estimated to have traveled to Syria to fight with the rebels, and about half are said to have joined al Qaeda's Syrian branch, the Al Nusrah Front, while others have joined the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham.