Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has warned that his country is now under a permanent and increased threat of militant attack. He also announced plans to fingerprint and face-scan visitors from 10 high-risk countries.
Last week five Australian citizens of Lebanese, Libyan and Bangladeshi origin were jailed for up to 28 years for gathering weapons in preparation for an attack on an unknown target. In August, five men with alleged links to Somalia’s al-Shabab militants were arrested and charged over an alleged plot to attack a Sydney military barracks.
Mr Rudd said there was a growing threat from Islamist radicals born or raised in Australia.
“The threat of home-grown terrorism is now increasing,” he said. “This white paper is clear: some of the threat we now face comes from the Australian-born, Australian-educated and Australian residents.”
Al-Qaida-linked groups in Yemen and Sudan are the new centre of threat internationally, the policy paper says, and the risks posed by Afghanistan and Pakistan remain high.
Australia will spend A$69m ($62m; £40m) on new biometric facilities and will set up a national control centre to co-ordinate efforts to fight extremism.
The government also plans to work with communities to stamp out radicalism by helping all ethnic groups integrate better with mainstream society. (BBC)