ISIS fighter ‘ready to kill Australians’
An Islamic State terrorist living in a country right on Australia's doorstep has said he is ready to kill non-believers including Australians because "God told him to do it".
The masked IS fighter from the Philippines gave the answer to 60 Minutes in an exclusive interview when asked by reporter Liam Bartlett, "would you be happy to kill people like me?"
The young man, identified only as Sadam, replied, "We will kill the people who's going to kill us. We're just doing what God told us to do".
Sadam and other young men aged in their twenties and fathers in their fifties are "angry" and ready "to kill a lot of people".
Sadam said that foreign extremists had trained him to fight non-believers.
Lured by the offer of money and weapons, Sadam was given a wage to fight for Islamic State (aka ISIS).
"They give us money. They give us guns. Then every month, they give us income," he told 60 Minutes.
With Syria crumbling and difficult to reach, the new Islamic State battlegrounds just hours from Australia include Indonesia, Philippines and Papua New Guinea.
While they are "right on our doorstep, training up to kill", Australian troops are also training up local soldiers to stop an IS incursion in our region.
South-East Asia terror expert Sidney Jones explained that the terror threat has shifted geographically as the much-vaunted IS caliphate in Syria failed to happen.
"One by one many of the top fighters have been killed, but that doesn't end the movement," she said.
"Basically now that it's difficult to get to Syria, they wage war at home.
"It's a guerrilla strategy using components from outside the Middle East."
Nine's 60 Minutes reported that a dense jungle of the southern Philippines has long been a breeding ground for local extremist groups.
But now the city of Marawi is an ISIS stronghold.
"Two years ago, ISIS set its sights on this city as it's East Asia headquarters," Bartlett said.
"Today, it lies in ruin … the bombed-out homes and shopfronts resembling the streets of Raqqa in Syria.
"It might not look like it, but these streets are still too dangerous for locals to return home. Hundreds of unexploded bombs are hidden beneath the rubble.
"Military checkpoints guard the entrance to what's left of this city."
ISIS established a defensive position in Marawi's central business district.
Skilled at fighting extremists in the jungle, the Philippines military were caught off guard when ISIS forced them to the streets of a major city.
More than 1000 people were killed during the siege of Marawi by ISIS, civilians, soldiers and the enemy.
More than 60,000 have been left homeless and pushed into makeshift camps.
Just a three-hour flight from Darwin, the city has suffered a massive scale of destruction.
Just months after the siege ended in November 2017, Australia prepared to send troops into the jungles of the southern Philippines to train local forces.
Group Captain, John Young told Nine the operation was also making sure the threat of ISIS here never makes its way to Australian shores.
"It may not be in Australia, but this part of the world is in our backyard," Captain Young said.
"It's our direct area of interest and the people that we are helping now, they're our neighbours. Their prosperity, their peace, is ours.
More than 100 army, navy and air force troops are now in the area, and have set up a range to train local forces in urban close combat shooting.
ISIS recruit Sadam told Liam Bartlett that although he was worried he could be caught and locked up, what he liked about ISIS was that he would be going to paradise.
"ISIS is telling the God's order and that's definitely what will make us go to paradise," Sadam said.
He said he has "many friends who want to join or train" and that 100 young men are members of his terror group.
Their aim was to get sharia law enforced in majority Muslim cities like Marawi.
Asked if ISIS would make trouble in Australia, he said he didn't know but "If some people try to kill us, we must fight and try to kill them, too."
He said he wasn't deterred by Australian troops training local soldiers.
"We have a foreign people, special forces, that train us, too. If that happen … Allah will help us," he said.
The Federal Government responded to reports that 40 Australians who had joined Islamic State and other extremist military groups fighting in Syria and Iraq are now back home
Minister for Science Karen Andrews told Sky News the report emphasised the need for parliament to pass legislation to prevent such dual-citizens heading home from war zones.
AAP reported Ms Andrews was responding to claims some of the fighters, among 230 Australians who travelled to the war zone since 2012, posed a "significant" security concern.
"I think it is important that we proceed to the temporary exclusion orders," she said.
"Our number priority as a government, and it's a number one priority for every government, is to keep its citizens safe.".
The government would look to pass the temporary ban on dual-citizen foreign fighters from returning to Australia during the next sitting fortnight.