Australia is the biggest per capita supplier of foreign fighters to ISIS
An Australian ISIS recruiter who called on his countrymen to “start attacking before they attack you” has died in a U.S. airstrike, Australia’s Attorney General George Brandis revealed.
He died in Mosul on 29 April as a result of Australian intelligence, the authorities said.
The death of the 24-year-old Neil Prakash was welcomed by Australian officials, who said he encouraged numerous terrorist plots in both Australia and the US and has been actively recruiting extremists to travel to the Middle East.
Malcolm Turnbull has warned Australians fighting with the Islamic State group they “will be targeted” following the precision killing of top Australian terrorist Neil Prakash in Iraq.
Mr Turnbull said so-called foreign fighters who travelled to the Middle East to join the Islamic State, also known as Daesh and ISIS, were enemies of Australia.
“We are unrelenting in the war against terror,” Mr Turnbull told Sky News. “Australians who think they can go to Syria and Iraq and fight with Daesh have to recognise that they will be targeted. They will be targeted. They are waging war against Australia and they are enemies of Australia once they choose to wage that war in those theatres.”
A statement released by the attorney general and defence minister said Prakash was “a prominent Isil member and a senior terrorist recruiter and attack facilitator” who had been linked to several plots for terrorist attacks in Australia and calls for lone-wolf attacks against the US.
“He has appeared in Isil propaganda videos and magazines and has actively recruited Australian men, women and children, and encouraged acts of terrorism. He is considered to be Australia’s most prominent Isil recruiter. His death disrupts and degrades Isil’s ability to recruit vulnerable people in our community to conduct terrorist acts.”
Prakash, the most senior Australian fighting with Islamic State, was killed last Friday along with about a dozen fighters in the suburbs of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.
Prakash, who left Australia in 2013, was also known as Abu Khaled al Cambodia.
The 24-year-old former rapper from Melbourne was of Cambodian and Fijian descent and converted from Buddhism in 2012.
He was linked to several militant attack plans in Australia, had featured in IS recruitment videos and urged lone wolf attacks against the US.
“His death disrupts and degrades ISIL’s ability to recruit vulnerable people in our community to conduct terrorist acts,” said the Attorney General, adding that up to 59 Australians had so far been killed fighting for jihadists in Iraq or Syria.
Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said: “This is a good outcome for the safety and security of our country.
The Australian government is work closely with the Americans on intelligence-gathering, but it is not clear if they played any part in Parkash’s search and elimination.
Speaking to their American counterparts, Australian authorities also learned of last week’s airstrike in Syria, which killed the sister of Australian terrorist Farhad Jabar and her husband, Abu Sa’ad al-Sudani – the pair were also very prominent IS recruiters.
There are currently an estimated 110 Australian citizens fighting for terrorist groups. That number is down from 120 after recent operations.