The Australian government issued an arrest warrant Thursday for Tareq Kamleh, an Australian doctor, who featured in a recruitment video for the Islamic State group, urging Westerners to join its fight in Syria. The latest development comes amid increasing security concerns as dozens of Australian citizens traveled to the Middle East in recent past to fight alongside ISIS, while several of the group's sympathizers remain in the country.
The 29-year-old doctor, who worked in many local hospitals, appeared in the video released in April, reportedly calling his medical work in Syria as his “jihad for Islam.” Kamleh, who left the city of Perth last year to join ISIS, also said in the video that he regretted he did not leave the country sooner to be part of the Sunni militant group's fight against the West.
Kamleh, who now goes by the name Abu Yusuf al-Australi, will be arrested on three terrorism charges if he returned to the country, Australian Federal Police said, according to the Associated Press. The charges, which include being a member and a recruiter for a terrorist organization, reportedly carry a maximum sentence of 45 years.
The son of a Palestinian father and German-born Muslim convert mother, also faces a charge under the new counterterrorism law of traveling and remaining in Syria's al-Raqqa province, a no-go zone. In December, Australia imposed a law banning travel to the ISIS stronghold al-Raqqa amid growing concerns of radicalization of young Australian Muslims.
In March, the country also banned travel to the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, controlled by ISIS, stating that Australians who travel to the area must necessarily show a legitimate reason to do so.
According to the Australian government, over 100 Australians are fighting alongside ISIS in the Middle East, while another 150 are believed to be supporting the militant group from within the country.