SYDNEY – Top US and Australian officials warned yesterday that battle-hardened and angry foreign fighters may return to Southeast Asia from the Middle East and take up arms in their own countries.
The warning follows the weekend terror attacks in London, which were claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group, and comes amid a growing jihadist threat in the Philippines.
IS fighters will “come back with battlefield skills, they’ll come back with hardened ideology, they’ll come back angry, frustrated and we need to be very aware of that,” Australian Defense Minister Marise Payne said.
She was speaking at an Australia-US ministerial summit also attended by Pentagon chief Jim Mattis, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his Australian counterpart Julie Bishop.
Reacting to the London attacks, Mattis said: “We are united... in our resolve, even against an enemy that thinks by hurting us, they can scare us. Well, we don’t scare.”
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