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    Lebanon: Arrest of an Australian teenager plans to travel to the land of an advocate

    A Sydney teenager has given up details of Australian Islamic State fighters, financiers and supporters after being caught on his way to join the group in Syria, Lebanese authorities have claimed.
    The 18-year-old, identified by Lebanon’s Internal Security Forces only by the initials A.M, has provided information about those in Australia who have been assisting the terrorist group.
    “The information branch ­arrested him two days before his date of travel, where he revealed information about Australian fighters who have joined ISIS and about supporters, backers and financiers of ISIS in Australia,” the security force said.
    It is unclear whether the teen was on the radar of Australian agencies before he left and how he came to the attention of Lebanese authorities. The government last night confirmed the arrest. “The ­Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is providing consular assistance, in accordance with the Consular Services Charter, to an Australian man ­detained in Lebanon,” a spokesman said.
    The Australian Federal Police did not respond to questions about whether it had shared information about the teen and if Lebanese authorities had passed on information about Islamic State-backers in Australia.
    According to the ISF, the man was in contact with Islamic State operatives while in Lebanon, and was subject to “extensive and persistent investigation and surveillance” before his arrest.
    His case has yet to be heard in court.
    The ISF said the teenager, born in 1999 and who “lived in Sydney for several years”, had been in Lebanon since August 20.
    He is also alleged to have ­become ­attracted to Islamic State while in Australia, watching prop­a­ganda videos and keeping track of the group’s now-waning fortunes on the battlefields of Iraq and Syria.
    He allegedly used his trip to Lebanon as a cover for his plan to join Islamic State in Syria.
    “After arriving in Lebanon, he contacted members of ISIS in Syria via the internet and he was put in touch with an ISIS organiser in a neighbouring country who explained to him his travel plan and stages (of getting into) Syria,” the ISF said.
    Former army officer Rodger Shanahan, a researcher with the Lowy Institute who served with the UN in Lebanon, was surprised anyone would ­attempt to travel to Syria just as ­Islamic State was being driven from the cities.
    “It’s strange that somebody would do that this late in the fight,” Dr Shanahan said.
    He said it was unlikely someone would attempt to cross into Syria from Lebanon, but it was possible to fly from Beirut to ­Turkey and from there overland into the warzone.
    “Once you’re in Lebanon, they (Australian authorities) can’t track where you’re going, particularly if (you’re) a dual-citizen travelling on a Lebanese passport,” Dr Shanahan said.
    ASIO chief Duncan Lewis last week said there were about 110 Australians in the conflict zone.
    “As at, I think, the first of this month the passport cancellations were running at 219,” he told a Senate hearing. “That is, passports of Australians cancelled … because in our assessment those individuals were ­intent on going to the Middle East with the purpose of fighting with ISIL.
    “With regard to fatalities … we now are running at at least 68 Australians that have been killed, and possibly 85.”
    source : theaustralian.com 

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