AUSTRALIA – Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed a “sick” video has been released by Islamic State encouraging new recruits to set fire to bushland in Australia.
Today, Mr Morrison said there was a “new recruitment video this morning telling followers to deliberately light bushfires in places like Australia” when asked by 2GB’s Ben Fordham.
He said as Australia was gripped by the coronavirus crisis, there were still “plenty of creeps out there who would want to hurt us”.
“It’s right Ben, it’s a reminder that while there is the great threat of the pandemic at the moment, the other threats haven’t gone anywhere,” Mr Morrison said. “And we need to remain vigilant about that.”
Australia’s horror black summer saw hundreds of fires across the country, with 11 million hectares of land burned. The land area scorched by the bushfires was larger than Ireland or South Korea. The bushfires destroyed almost 6000 buildings, killed 34 people and wiped out an estimated 1 billion animals.
Mr Morrison didn’t directly comment on the nature of the IS video – but said the government remains “very vigilant” against online threats.
“Yesterday with Peter Dutton, we launched the cyber security strategy. That‘s keeping families safe from the dark web and the paedophiles and other creeps that go around trying to get into our kids’ lives through the internet.
“Not just that, but protecting major infrastructure and services and all those things and businesses and the economy and our banking system.”
“ISIL continues to spread messages and propaganda online and seeks to influence individuals to act violently,” a spokesperson for the Department of Home Affairs told news.com.au.
“It’s capacity to radicalise individuals into perpetrators here and abroad remains a very real threat.”
“The Australian Government continually works with digital industry, regulatory agencies, and international partners to limit access to, and disrupt, terrorist and violent extremist propaganda online.”
“Firstly, that’s a matter for the State Government to regulate, and the regulations here are very strong,” Mr Morrison said. “What happened in Beirut is just the most awful of tragedies and a terrible accident.
“But you had the material sitting around the same place … for around six years next to fireworks and a Hezbollah controlled port. These are not the circumstances in Australia.
“There are very strict regulations on how they’re used. Those materials in Newcastle in particular, they move through that fairly quickly. So it’s not just sitting there dormant.”
The Prime Minister said he believed the Premier of NSW could offer more information on the ammonium nitrate in the area.