ACCORDING to reports from ‘down under’, police officers in Australia have arrested five alleged jihadists over a strange plot to travel in a small fishing boat from the state of Queensland to Indonesia, 1,400 miles away and then onward to Syria to join up with Daesh.
The group of young men, led by well-known Islamic preacher Musa Cerantonio of Italian Irish descent, who converted to Islam at the age of 17, included Shayden Thorne, the brother of hard-line Islamist, Junaid Thorne and Kadir Kaya, who had previously announced that he wanted to leave Australia because he felt Muslims were not welcome, but could not because the authorities had confiscated his passport.
The five were arrested north of Cairns after towing an old but seaworthy deep-sea fishing boat by car from Melbourne.
“The fact that they’d gone all the way from Melbourne, all the way to far north Queensland, indicates that these people were extremely committed in their attempt to leave the country,” said Neil Gaughan, from the Australian Federal Police according to ABC News.
George Brandis, the attorney-general, said it was believed to be the first attempt by Australian extremists to leave the country by boat, but added: “I can’t rule out the possibility that there may be others.”
It was also revealed that Australian officials had previously cancelled the passports of all of the men aged 21 to 33, over concerns about their terrorist links and possible plans to join terrorist forces in Syria.