Julie Bishop: ISIS Is 'Australia's Responsibility'
By Reissa Su | September 2, 2014 6:34 PM EST
Australia's foreign affairs minister Julie Bishop thinks the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, is one of the "most barbaric and brutal" terrorist groups the world has come to know. According to Bishop, Australia has the responsibility to challenge ISIS with Australian jihadists ascending to leadership in its ranks.
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop speaks during a joint news conference with Australian Defence Minister David Johnston, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel (not pictured) at the conclusion of the AUSMIN meeting at Admiralty House in Sydney August 12, 2014.
According to reports, Bishop said since Australia has ties with the group because of Australian militants, the country should be responsible in not only protecting the citizens but also eradicate the root of the terrorist organisation. She revealed that the Abbott government has become increasingly concerned that there were at least 60 Australians fighting alongside ISIS forces in Iraq.
Intelligence authorities did not rule out the possibility that Australian militants could return to the country and act in behalf of ISIS.
Bishop claimed Australia wants to restore stability and peace in Iraq. The number of Australian militants rising to prominence thanks to social media images and posts has heightened the risk of security. Australia is currently on a "medium" national terror alert. Britain has raised its security alert level to "severe" following reports of "highly likely" terror attacks.
The 60 Australians identified by intelligence reports as militants fighting with ISIS is about twice the number of citizens involved in the fighting with the Taliban and al-Qaeda.
Bishop wants to have more power in seizing passports. She said she wants to cancel the passport of suspected terrorists when they leave or come home to Australia. She called on the government to amend the Passport Act so she can suspend passports based on valid concerns.
Meanwhile, Bishop has offered to help the United Nations find 44 peacekeepers who were kidnapped by terrorists in Syria. She said she will use Australia's intelligence sources to track down the peacekeepers taken hostage by al-Qaeda-linked forces.
Reports believe the terrorist group Jabhat al-Nusra kidnapped the peacekeepers. The terrorists had attacked a Golan Heights crossing. UN troops had no choice but to surrender.
The kidnapping of UN peacekeepers has become a concern for ministers currently attending the UN Small Island Developing States summit in Samoa. Bishop is also one of the delegates representing Australia in the conference.
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