The Government of the United Kingdom has raised its terrorism threat level from ‘Substantial’ to ‘Severe’. This move by the United Kingdom indicates the significance of the threat posed by the Islamic State and other terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq.
It is of serious concern that Australian citizens are active in these groups. The Government’s assessment is that approximately 60 Australians are engaged in fighting in Syria and Iraq, with an additional 100 involved in active facilitation and support.
We remain in close contact with the United Kingdom and other partners about the threat from terrorist groups active in Syria and Iraq and from returning foreign fighters.
As the Director-General of Security and I have said before, events in Syria and Iraq, and the large number of Australians participating in the conflict means Australia is facing its highest threat for some time.
Australia’s National Terrorism Public Alert System level remains at ‘Medium’, which indicates that a terrorist attack could occur.
This level is under constant review by the Australian Government and is based on advice from security and intelligence agencies. Australia’s threat level would be increased to ‘High’ if it were deemed that a terrorist attack is likely to occur.
The Government is taking all necessary steps to keep Australia and Australian interests safe.