Tag Archives: Australia

Australian ‘terror suspect’ killed in Melbourne #Australia #ISIS

by South Asia Desk.
Australian Prime Minister Tony AbbottAustralian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

An 18-year-old man who had made threats against Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has been shot dead in Melbourne, reports say.

The man had been under surveillance as a “person of interest”, and was being investigated over claims of terrorism, the ABC broadcaster said.

Two police officers were reportedly stabbed by the man before he was shot.

They have both been taken to hospital and one is reported to be in a critical but stable condition.

The incident happened when the man arrived at a police station in the Endeavour Hills suburb of Melbourne on Tuesday evening.

He had been asked to attend an interview there, ABC reports.

According to Sky News Australia, the man was brandishing a flag of the Islamic State (IS) militant group.

Security has been tightened across Australia recently, including outside parliamentSecurity has been tightened across Australia recently, including outside parliament.Australia has pledged that its fighter jets will play a part in US-led air strikes on Islamic State positions in IraqAustralia has pledged that its fighter jets will play a part in US-led air strikes on Islamic State positions in Iraq. Last week’s raids are being called Australia’s biggest ever anti-terrorism operation Last week’s raids are being called Australia’s biggest ever anti-terrorism operation.

A police statement said that an Australian Federal Police officer and a Victoria state police officer – part of a joint counter-terrorism team – met the teenager outside the station. It was then that the violence erupted.

The Melbourne Age quoted onlookers as saying that the man had been shouting insults at Mr Abbott and the Australian government in general in the moments before he was shot.

Sources quoted by The Australian said that he was a “known extremist” who was intercepted by two teams of police. The paper said it is believed that he had recently had his passport cancelled.

The incident has occurred amid heightened tensions due to major counter-terrorism raids last week in Sydney and Brisbane.

The raids were aimed at disrupting alleged IS-linked plans to publicly behead a randomly-selected Australian.

Australian authorities believe at least 60 Australians are in the Middle East fighting with IS (also known as Isis or Isil) and other militant groups.

The Oslo Times.

Islamic State urges Muslims to kill Australian ‘unbelievers’ #Australia #ISIS

Islamic State has urged Muslims to take action against any country involved in Iraq working against it. Source: AFPIslamic State has urged Muslims to take action against any country involved in Iraq working against it. Source: AFP

AUSTRALIA has received a direct threat from Islamic State fighters in a chilling new video recording, which the government believes is genuine.

The 42-minute propaganda video, which has been circulated on social media, urges Muslims to launch attacks on civilians in a number of countries including France, Australia and Canada, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation News reported.

The audio, which is in Arabic but translated in an 11-page document online, calls on Muslims everywhere to attack anyone involved in the US-led coalition against it.

In the video, which has been uploaded to Twitter, IS spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani said Muslims should kill “disbelievers” in countries that support “in any manner” the military action against the group in Iraq.

“If you can kill a disbelieving American or European — especially the spiteful and filthy French — or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war, including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State … kill him in any manner or way however it may be,” Adnani is heard saying, according to the translated document.

“Do not ask for anyone’s advice and do not seek anyone’s verdict. Kill the disbeliever whether he is civilian or military, for they have the same ruling.”

He also tells supporters they are “like predatory warriors” who “face death bare chests”.

Australia is mentioned three times throughout the translated document including the line where he asks followers why Australia is getting involved in Iraq.

“What threat do you pose to the distant place of Australia for it to send its legions towards you?”

The audio threat mirrors earlier threats issued by IS, also known as ISIS and ISIL, which warned that it planned to kill American journalists James Foley and Stephen Sotloff as well as British aid worker David Haines.

In a statement given to news.com.au, a spokesman for Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Australian agencies regarded the statement issued by IS calling for attacks against members of the international coalition, including Australians, as genuine.

The spokesman said the statement and planned attacks thwarted by security agencies last week supported the government’s strong action to date.

“We are giving our law enforcement and security agencies the resources and legislative powers they need to keep Australia and Australians as safe as possible,” he said.

“We have already provided more than $630 million to boost the counterterrorism capacity of the Australian Federal Police, ASIO, ASIS, Customs and Border Protection and other agencies.

“We are also updating counterterrorism legislation to strengthen our agencies’ capability to prevent and disrupt domestic security threats and we are preparing to contribute to international efforts to disrupt and degrade ISIL terrorists.”

He added that Australia had been a target of terrorist organisations in the past, including from al-Qaeda and its offshoots, “because we are free, pluralist, tolerant, welcoming and accepting”.

“ISIL will claim that our involvement in this international effort is the reason they are targeting us, but these people do not attack us for what we do, but for who we are and how we live,” he said.

The emergence of the latest video comes as Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott today delivered a tough security statement to parliament, revealing terrorists had been urging attacks against Australian targets for months.

Mr Abbott told Parliament that the major anti-terrorist raids across Sydney and Brisbane last week disrupted an Islamic State plot to stage a shocking execution on home soil.

He also said the government was aware of at least 60 “misguided and alienated Australians” fighting with terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq, and of at least 100 Australians who are supporting them.

The video also raised alarm bells in Canada.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s spokesman told the CBC that he condemned the recording and that his country would continue to support efforts to defeat IS.


Flight #MH17: Australia and Malaysia want to revisit crash site for remains

Tony Abbott and his counterpart, Najib Razak, say they need more evidence to build a criminal case against those responsible.

Australian Associated Press. Debris at the crash site of MH17 in Ukraine’s Donetsk region. Photograph: Xinhua/REXDebris at the crash site of MH17 in Ukraine’s Donetsk region. Photograph: Xinhua/REX

Australia and Malaysia have signalled their intention to send investigators back to the MH17 crash site in war-torn eastern Ukraine before winter.

Prime minister Tony Abbott and his counterpart Najib Razak on Saturday agreed to intensify their efforts to recover any human remains still at the crash site and return them to their loved ones.

Australian investigators were forced to suspend their search in August as fighting around the crash site intensified.

It was envisioned they would return but a timeline was never set.

But there could be fresh urgency to get forensic experts back on the ground, with Najib declaring they’d need “at least a few weeks” to scour the vast impact zone for any remaining evidence.

“We intend to send our teams to the crash site as soon as possible,” he told reporters in Kuala Lumpur following a meeting with Abbott.

“We are very, very keen to re-enter the crash site, especially before winter sets in.”

Both leaders agreed that obtaining further evidence from the site would be crucial for building a criminal case to punish those responsible for the attack.

Australia has pointed the finger at Russia, accusing it of arming the separatists in eastern Ukraine suspected of downing the passenger plane.

Nearly 300 people, including 38 Australian citizens and residents, were killed when Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine in July.

The first bodies of the Australian victims from the tragedy arrived back home earlier this week.

Abbott said it was likely there were still human remains at the crash site and the families of those who died deserved justice and closure.

“We want to be absolutely confident that everything has been done to ensure that no one is left untended and alone,” he said.

He also provided an update on the next phase of the Australian-led search for missing plane MH370, due to begin in a fortnight.

It’s been six months since the plane disappeared without a trace and exhaustive search efforts in the Indian Ocean have so far turned up nothing.

Earlier in the day he thanked Malaysian officials in person for their “courage and resilience” dealing with the twin disasters.

The two leaders also discussed the rise of terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria, with Najib emphatically condemning Islamic extremism.

Abbott returns home on Sunday after a three-day trip to India and Malaysia.

via Flight MH17: Australia and Malaysia want to revisit crash site for remains | World news | theguardian.com.

A Briton who died on flight #MH17 has been identified

WHO official Glenn Thomas, one of ten Britons killed in crash, was travelling to Australia to attend international Aids conference.

By Martin Williams.WHO official Glenn Thomas has been formally identified as one of the Britons killed in the MH17 crash. Photograph: WHO/PAWHO official Glenn Thomas has been formally identified as one of the Britons killed in the MH17 crash. Photograph: WHO/PA

A British man who died when flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine has been formally identified as Glenn Thomas, a World Health Organisation (WHO) official.

The 49-year-old, who was a former BBC journalist, had been travelling to Australia to attend the international Aids conference in Melbourne. He was one of 10 British victims killed in the tragedy.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: “We can confirm the formal identification of another British victim of Flight MH17, Glenn Thomas.

“His family have been informed. Our thoughts are with them at this difficult time. We continue to provide consular assistance to the family.”

Thomas, who lived in Geneva and worked as a media officer for WHO, leaves behind his partner, Claudio, and twin sister, Tracey. His family are making plans for his body to be returned to Blackpool, the BBC said.

His sister has paid tribute to Thomas, saying there was “no uncle or brother like him in the world”. She told the Blackpool Gazette last month: “I can’t believe it – he was the most generous, kind person who always thought about others first. Everyone that knew him knew what he was like – there’s not a bad word to say about him.”

She said: “He had never been to Australia before and he was so excited. He loved life and was doing what he does best – travelling.”

His nephew, Jordan, told the paper: “Through all his life the one thing he said to me was go to university and go travelling. The one place he hadn’t been was Australia and obviously that’s where he was going for a conference.”

Last week, hundreds of people attended the funeral of Newcastle United fan Liam Sweeney, who was the first British victim of MH17 to be formally identified. The club’s manager and captain joined family and friends for the service at St Mary’s Cathedral, Newcastle.

The International Aids Society (IAS) named Thomas last month as one of six delegates killed in the disaster. At the time of his death, WHO’s spokeswoman, Fadela Chaib, said: “We have lost a wonderful person and a great professional. Our hearts are broken. We are all in shock.”

IAS president, Franoise Barrinoussi, said at the time: “The extent of our loss is hard to comprehend or express. We grieve alongside all of those throughout the world who have lost friends and family in this senseless tragedy.”

Others attending the conference who were killed include delegates from Aids Action Europe, Stop Aids Now!, HIV Netherlands Australia Research Collaboration and the Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development.

Tensions between the west and Russia have flared following the downing of the Boeing 777, which was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it crashed on 17 July.

Fighting has engulfed Ukraine’s separatist east and its government has repeatedly accused Russia of stirring up trouble within its borders.

In the latest development, Ukraine security services has released a video of 10 Russian paratroopers it claimed were captured while fighting alongside pro-Moscow rebels in the east of the country.

However, Russia has always denied supporting and arming rebels in the region.

The Guardian.

#Malaysia #Airlines Flight #MH370 search faces tough next phase.

by South Asia Desk.
The hunt for flight MH370 continuesThe view from Fugro Equator: The ship has had to contend with some terrible weather.

The next phase of the hunt for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet MH370 will be very challenging in places.

Detailed information being gathered about the shape of the ocean floor west of Australia confirms the seabed in some locations to be extremely rugged.

Two vessels – the Fugro Equator and the Zhu Kezhen – are currently mapping an area covering 60,000 sq km.

This survey will guide a metre-by-metre search using towed instruments and submersibles.

This is likely to get under way towards the end of September.

The Australian authorities have warned that this could take a year to complete.

The Dutch-owned Fugro Equator and the Chinese naval vessel Zhu Kezhen are presently assembling a bathymetric (depth) map.

Dutch vessel is equipped with a state-of-the-art multibeam echosounderDutch vessel is equipped with a state-of-the-art multibeam echosounder.

It covers the general location in the southern Indian Ocean where investigators believe MH370 is most likely to have come down.

The map is akin to a broad canvas – a first-ever proper look at a terrain about which there is the slimmest of knowledge.

It is essential work. Without this map, which has a resolution of roughly 25m in the deepest depths, it would not be safe to put down submersibles, as there is a high risk these vehicles would be lost.

“There are volcanoes down there we’ve found which were unknown before,” says Paul Kennedy from Fugro Survey Pty Ltd.

“There are all sorts of new features that are appearing,” the company’s project director for the MH370 search told BBC News.

The Fugro Equator is equipped with a state-of-the-art multibeam echosounder.

The vast majority of the area it is covering has never been sampled before.

It has recorded depths near to 6,000m. Even the shallow regions are more than 1,000m down.

But it is the craggy nature of the seabed that will prompt extreme caution to be exercised in the next phase of operations.

two-thirds of the high-priority zone (yellow) has now been mappedtwo-thirds of the high-priority zone (yellow) has now been mapped.

Fugro has been contracted by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau to conduct this part of the search as well.

It will involve the Equator and another ship, the Fugro Discovery. Both ships will pull a deep-tow instrument very close to the sea floor using a 10,000m armoured fibre-optic cable.

“There are areas that are benign and are going to be fairly straightforward. But then there are some areas that we know are going to be really hard work,” explained Mr Kennedy.

“There are some huge valleys between big mountains, and it’s going to be really hard to tow our device through those areas. We can do it; it’s just going to take a bit longer.”

The Equator and a second ship, the Fugro Discovery, will use deep-tow instrumentsThe Equator and a second ship, the Fugro Discovery, will use deep-tow instruments.

Mr Kennedy likens the deep-tow’s capabilities to human senses.

Echosounders are its ears; cameras represent its eyes; and a chemical sensor works like a nose.

This nose will “sniff” for the presence of any jet fuel in the water, down to a few parts per billion in concentration.

Assembling the bathymetric map has been a tough job in itself.

The Equator has had to contend with some terrible winter weather.

“Heave is the vertical displacement of a vessel – that’s how you measure the size of the waves,” Mr Kennedy said.

“We record it, and you correct for it when computing the bathymetric depth. The biggest heave we’ve had so far is 13m. That’s a big wave.

“Fortunately, the vessel has anti-roll tanks, which push water from side to side inside the ship with great big pumps, and that helps tremendously.

“To get a clean map of the sea floor, we must know the attitude of the ship very accurately, to 0.02 of a degree.”

The Malaysian plane was lost on 8 March as it flew from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, carrying 239 people.

Its disappearance has become one the biggest mysteries in aviation history.

The best information investigators have for its whereabouts come for a series of brief satellite communications with the jet during its flight.

The last of these connections suggests MH370 crashed into the water inside the “high priority” search zone now being surveyed by the Dutch and Chinese vessels.

satellite track of the Fugro Equator shows how it is systematically mapping the ocean floorsatellite track of the Fugro Equator shows how it is systematically mapping the ocean floor.

Article first appeared on the BBC News website.

The Oslo Times.