Tue, May 09, 2017 - Page 7 News List

Turnbull says IS fighter’s son can return to Australia

AP, CANBERRA

A six-year-old Australian boy photographed making an Islamic State (IS) group movement salute in front of a human body hanging from a cross somewhere in the Middle East was entitled to return to Australia with his siblings, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said yesterday.

However, such children who returned from the battlefields of Syria and Iraq would be subjected to “the closest attention” to ensure Australians were safe, he said.

“We will be utterly resolute in keeping Australians safe, and that applies to anyone who returns from the conflict zone, whether they are an adult or a child,” Turnbull told reporters.

Australian media on Sunday published the photograph posted on social media by Sydney-born convicted terrorist Khaled Sharrouf of his youngest child.

The smiling boy holds up his right index finger in a salute in front of an apparently lifeless body suspended from a cross with plastic cable ties.

A sign hanging from the body said the capital crime was collaborating with Christians.

Sharrouf’s wife, Tara Nettleton, took their five children to Syria in February 2014.

Nettleton died of surgery complications in September last year, but her mother continues to lobby governments for help to bring the children home.

Turnbull criticized Sharrouf, 35, over the picture, saying such behavior demonstrated why Australia is committed to destroying the Islamic State movement.

“The despicable conduct of Khaled Sharrouf in using his child to promote the barbaric, terrorist activities of the organization of which he is part, is almost beyond belief,” Turnbull said.

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