Intelligence agencies have confirmed a statement attributed to Islamic State urging the deaths of Australians and citizens of other countries is genuine.
The Islamic State (IS) extremist group has asked its supporters to directly target Australians.
“If you can kill a disbelieving American or European … or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war, including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State, then rely upon Allah, and kill him in any manner or way however it may be,” the group said in a statement released on Monday.
Australian intelligence agencies have confirmed the statement credited to Abu Muhammad al-Adnani is genuine.
In another section, the IS spokesman refers mockingly to Australia’s preparations to send in warplanes and special forces to tackle the terrorist group in Iraq.
“What threat do you pose to the distant place of Australia for it to send its legions towards you?” it says to IS supporters.
“If the parties have gathered against you, then know they gathered against your Prophet.”
The terrorist group urges the death of both military and civilian targets.
“Kill the disbeliever whether he is civilian or military,” the statement says.
“Both of them are considered to be waging war.”
A spokeswoman for Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the statement’s content and the planned attacks thwarted by police in Queensland and NSW last week justified the government’s strong counter-terrorism actions to date.
“ISIL will claim that our involvement in this international effort is the reason they are targeting us, but these people do not attack us for what we do, but for who we are and how we live,” the spokeswoman said.
“Australia has been a target of terrorist organisations, including al Qaeda and its offshoots, for many years because we are free, pluralist, tolerant, welcoming and accepting.”
Attorney-General George Brandis says it is an extremely belligerent statement but not particularly different from earlier threats.
Nor does he think it is new that Australia would attract this type of direct referencing.
“There have been previous statements by spokesmen for ISIL and also other terrorist groups which reflect a similarly intense level of hostility to the West and to our liberal and democratic way of life,” Senator Brandis told the ABC.
However, Professor Greg Barton of the Global Terrorism Research Centre said he was “chilled” by reading the IS message.
“Because surprisingly it’s beautiful. It’s lyrical like an Old Testament prophet,” he told the ABC.
Prof Barton said he was very worried about the persuasive power it would have on young people.
“It is quite a game-changer,” he said.