Seven men carrying large sums of cash have been stopped from boarding flights out of Australia allegedly to join terrorists in the Middle East.
“We have stopped at the airport seven young Australians who were planning to travel to the Middle East, it seems, to join terrorist groups over there”, Abbott reportedly said.
Immigration and Border Protection Minister Peter Dutton confirmed there “was an incident at Sydney global airport on the 12th of August”, but said he can not provide a “running commentary” on terror investigations.
It is believed that is when the group of five would-be terrorists were stopped.
Australian authorities have detained seven young nationals as they were attempting to fly to the Middle East, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Thursday, over suspicions they wanted to join Islamist militant groups.
Abbott said the allure of Islamic State and similar groups remained strong.
When pressed about the incident by a reporter, Mr Dutton indicated more details might be available later on Thursday.
Mr Dutton said 80 counter-terrorism unit officers were now in place at eight Australian worldwide airports and their work ensured these people did not reach theatres of war.
“Just recently they did their job in this particularly important and significant way”, Mr Abbott told reporters.
Late last year Australia banned travel to Syria’s Raqqa province, which is held by Islamic State, unless a person has a legitimate reason.
“We’ve consulted obviously with the law-enforcement and intelligence agencies about the appropriateness of the detail that can be released at this point in time”, he said.
“Allowing these people to go to foreign shores to be trained in the acts of terrorism mean that when these people return to Australia, they pose an even greater threat”, Dutton told Parliament.