Australian militant Abu Yahya ash Shami
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said there are around 150 Australians who are fighting in Iaq and Syria. They travelled through Lebanon to reach Syria and are now moving into Iraq to join Sunni militants. In an effort to stop these young men from coming home, the government is cancelling their passports.
Passports can be refused or cancelled by the Foreign Minister, or on request by the Australian Federal Police or the Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO).
Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop
"We are particularly concerned with the reports of Australians who are heading off, not only to train, but to take leadership roles in radicalizing others and of course the fear is that they will come back to Australia with these newfound abilities and talents in terrorism" Ms Bishop said.
Tony Abbott said yesterday "The best thing we can do for Australians at home is to ensure that jihadists don't come back to this country - I want to make it absolutely crystal clear that this is a government which believes in border security. We have demonstrated not just that we believe in border security, but we are effective in establishing border security."
Australia is contributing $5 million in humanitarian aid to Iraq.