IS fighters stripped of Australian citizenship

FIVE Islamic State terrorists have been stripped of their Australian citizenship this year to stop them from returning home to plot terror attacks or radicalise vulnerable teenagers.

Three male and two female jihadis, who flew to Iraq and Syria to join terror army Islamic State's crusade against the West several years ago have lost their Australian citizenship, in a top-secret process involving high-level intelligence that proved beyond any doubt they had demonstrated their allegiance to the extremists.

It is understood some were battle-hardened frontline fighters while others were hard-core extremists who provided support to Islamic State, ­potentially in the form of technology or recruitment to the radical cause.

ASIO and the Australian Government were moved to act out of concern the dangerous jihadis would try to return to Australia now that the caliphate has been destroyed in the Middle East, bringing their extremist views to Sydney and Melbourne.

ASIO and the Australian Government were moved to act out of concern the dangerous jihadis would try to return to Australia now that the caliphate has been destroyed in the Middle East.
ASIO and the Australian Government were moved to act out of concern the dangerous jihadis would try to return to Australia now that the caliphate has been destroyed in the Middle East.

Now, stripped of their rights to Australian citizenship, they will never be able to step foot on Australian soil again.

Until this group of five, only one dual-citizen, who is believed to be Khaled Sharrouf, had been stripped of Australian citizenship, in January last year.

The success of stripping a further five terrorists of their citizenship has been credited to the creation of the Home Affairs department by Peter Dutton in January this year.

Under Section 35 of the Australian Citizenship Act 2015 a person's citizenship can be cancelled by Mr Dutton if they "fight for, or is in the service of, a declared terrorist organisation" and if they are a dual-national. Mr Dutton declined to comment but earlier this year expressed concerns that legislation allowing the government to strip terrorists of citizenship was "not working as it should".

"We know there are dual citizens among Australians fighting with terrorists in the Middle East and yet officials have so far confirmed that only one has lost their citizenship under the operation of the law," he said.

"I don't think the difference makes sense to Australians concerned by the prospect of battle-hardened extremists returning here and so I have asked for the application of the law to be ­reviewed by my Department."

The Daily Telegraph has been ­unable to categorically identify the five terrorists, who are among the 100 foreign fighters who remain in the Middle East war zone.

However, some of the Australian-born terrorists who have been overseas for a number of years, and are still believed to be alive, include Melbourne terror recruiter Mounir Raad, Adelaide doctor Tareq Kamleh and senior Islamic State militant Neil Prakash, who is in custody in Turkey.

Islamic State widow, Zehra Duman, has been a recruiter of jihadi brides. She travelled from Melbourne to Syria to marry jihadist Mahmoud Abdullatif, who was killed in 2014. Sydney women Hafsa Mohamed, 24, and Hodan Abby, 22, made headlines globally when they fled their western Sydney homes in 2014 to marry ISIS fighters in Syria.

The five who have been stripped of their citizenship are understood not to include children.

The daughter of slain Sydney ISIS fighter Sharrouf became radicalised in Syria and posts propaganda videos online. Zaynab Sharrouf, 17, lost her two brothers and father to a US drone strike last year and his since publicly endorsed Islamic State.

Her father rose to infamy when he posted propaganda photos of his sons holding up severed heads.

In total, 230 Australians have travelled to Syria and Iraq to fight with ­Islamic State, with between 91 and 93 killed in combat.

Since 2001, 54 Aussies have been convicted of terror offences, with 35 still in jail. Another 39 people are still going through the court process facing charges over terror offences.



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