Australia has issued arrest warrants for a pair of Australian
citizens believed to be fighting in Syria, after images
emerged of the two holding the severed heads of Syrian
Australian Federal Police (AFP) counter-terrorism chief Neil
Gaughan told the ABC in an interview that warrants had been
issued for Australians Khaled Sharrouf and Mohamed Elomar on
A Twitter account linked to al Qaeda offshoot Islamic State
last week published grizzly pictures of the beheaded corpses
and heads of five soldiers killed in Syria's Raqqa province,
saying the soldiers were from the 17th division.
Sharrouf and Elomar travelled to Syria and Iraq late last
year, the ABC reported, and late last week a Twitter account
purported to belong to Sharrouf showed pictures of Elomar
handling severed heads.
"As soon as they set foot on Australian soil they will be
taken into custody," Gaughan said.
Australia has raised the alarm about the number of its
citizens believed to be fighting alongside insurgents
overseas, including an Australian suicide bomber who killed
three people in Baghdad this month.
That has added to concern about radicalised fighters
launching attacks when they return home, a threat the
government has used to justify a package of major new
Last week, Attorney General George Brandis announced sweeping
national security reforms that would make it easier to track
Australian citizens believed to have fought overseas both
while they were abroad and after they returned home.
Brandis told the ABC that concrete evidence had now emerged
to support those concerns.
"There is evidence that they are trained in terrorist
tradecraft to perform acts of domestic terrorism in the event
that they return either to their home countries or go
elsewhere after they have been in theatre," Brandis said.
"So that is a new and very alarming development."