Several Australian medical professionals, including doctors and nurses, have reportedly joined the ISIL terrorist group in the Middle East, a report says.
The report published by the Australian newspaper The Daily Telegraph on Monday said a number of medics are believed to be supporting and assisting the terrorist group.
According to the report, senior national security officials have been aware of an increasing trend among medical professionals “who have been lured to the Middle East.”
The report said the country’s national intelligence and spy agencies have for weeks been investigating and monitoring the locations of a number of health workers.
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has earlier banned Australian citizens from traveling to two ISIL strongholds, namely Syria’s northern Raqqa governorate and Iraq’s northern Mosul Province. If proven guilty, a court can sentence a person up to ten years in jail for traveling to the two regions.
An Australian national being investigated appeared last week in a video aimed at recruiting doctors, nurses and dentists to join the ISIL in Syria and Iraq. The footage posted online on April 24 purportedly shows Perth doctor Tareq Kamleh calling on other medics to join him in ISIL stronghold Raqqa in Syria.
Following the release of the video, a spokesman for Australian Attorney-General George Brandis’ department described the recruitment attempt as “vile.”
“While we cannot comment specifically on the individual, this is clearly another vile attempt by ISIL to try to entice Australians and other Westerners to put themselves and others at risk,” the spokesman said.
“Joining ISIL does not help the people of Syria and Iraq. It helps a terrorist organization that’s on a murderous rampage killing Muslim and non-Muslim people in their way,” the spokesman added.
According to government figures released in February, nearly 100 Australians have been fighting alongside and backing terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria and have had their passports revoked.
The ISIL terrorist group, which also has members from several Western countries, controls swathes of land in Iraq and Syria, and has been carrying out horrific acts of violence such as public decapitations and crucifixions against all communities such as Shias, Sunnis, Kurds, and Christians.
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