Customs claims teens were heading to ISIS warzone

TONY Abbott has put would-be junior Jihadists on notice after two teen brothers were busted trying to take up arms in the Middle East.

And parents must remain vigilant against their children being swayed by radical fighters, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said after a 16 and 17-year-old were stopped at Sydney Airport en-route to the Middle East.

The southwest Sydney siblings will face court after the Customs and Border Protection Counter Terrorism Unit thwarted their plans to leave Australia on Friday.

Mr Dutton described them as "kids, not killers" whose parents had no idea what they were up to.

He said the pair had return tickets to a destination in the Middle East and their luggage raised the suspicions of authorities.

"It is yet another reminder of the need for parents to remain vigilant against this type of threat," Mr Dutton said.

"They shouldn't be allowed to go to a foreign land to fight and to come back to our shores eventually more radicalised.

"In some cases, these young people who are going off to fight in areas like Syria will be killed themselves, and that's a tragedy for their families, for their communities, and for our country.

"We have to be absolutely determined to stare down this ever increasing threat."

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the teens were "misguided" and anyone else trying the same stunt would be stopped.

"If you get out and try to come back we'll stop you at the border on the way back," he told reporters yesterday.

"It seems they had succumbed to the lure of the death cult and they were on the verge of doing something terrible and dangerous

"My message to anyone who is listening to the death cult is 'block your ears'."

Mr Dutton said the internet was not helping the situation.

"Traditionally, parents of teenage children had to worry about alcohol, drugs, and driving and now there is an added threat of the information being delivered to them over internet, particularly if they're inclined to go and fight in a foreign land," he said.

"Most importantly for our country, when they return, they return more radicalised and (they are) a greater threat to the Australian public."

Changes to the Foreign Fighters Act give customs officers the powers to stop anyone they believed was a national security threat.

"The new ... act allows customs officers to detain people where the officer has reasonable grounds to suspect that the person is intending to commit a Commonwealth offence or is a threat to national security or the security of a foreign country," Mr Dutton said in a media release.

"Once detained ... an individual or group is made available to the appropriate law enforcement agency as soon as practicable.

"The new law plays a crucial role in Australia's defence against foreign fighters, as it prevents individuals from travelling outside of Australia where their intention is to commit acts of violence.

"This not only assists in the prevention of terrorist acts offshore, but also prevents these individuals from returning to Australia with greater capacity to carry out terrorist attacks on Australian soil."

The Federal Parliament is considering legislation allowing the formation of an Australian border force and collection of biometric data at airports and seaports.

- APN NEWSDESK

 



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