Australia

Australian teenager threatens Abbott in IS video

Fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) marching in Raqqa, Syria, Jan. 2014 Image copyright AP
Image caption Islamic State fighters have quickly set up an infrastructure and local government in the captured parts of Syria and Iraq

An Australian teenager who joined IS militants in Iraq and Syria has emerged in a video addressing PM Tony Abbott and US president Barack Obama.

The 17-year-old, named as Abdullah Elmir but who calls himself Abu Khaled, said "we will not put down our weapons until we reach your lands".

He ran away in June with another Australian teenager and it is believed he travelled to Syria via Turkey.

A government spokesman said it showed the threat posed by Islamic State.

"That is why Australia has joined the coalition to disrupt and degrade ISIL in Iraq," the spokesman said.

'Black flag' threat

Australia is a major contributor to the US-led coalition against the Islamic State group, which controls parts of Syria and Iraq. It has committed a total of 600 military personnel to the fight.

Earlier this week it reached an agreement with Iraq to allow 200 special forces personnel to train local troops to fight against IS militants.

It also raised the terror threat level to "high" in September in the wake of concerns about returning jihadists, and has carried out anti-terror raids after intelligence indicated Islamist extremists were planning random killings.

In the short video posted online, Abdullah Elmir addresses the camera in English: "To the leaders, to Obama, to Tony Abbott I say this; these weapons that we have, these soldiers, we will not stop fighting, we will not put down our weapons until we reach your lands."

"Until we put the black flag on top of Buckingham Palace, until we put the black flag on top of the White House we will not stop," he says.

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Australian media reports say that the teenager who ran away with Abdullah Elmir was intercepted by his father and has returned to Sydney.

IS brutality

IS staged dramatic attacks on areas of Iraq and Syria over the past year, quickly setting up an infrastructure and local government.

Despite a huge effort by the US and its allies, IS militants still control a vast area.

In recent weeks, the group has carried out a wave of suicide attacks, and has fended off attacks by Iraq's armed forces.

Militants are also embroiled in fighting with Kurdish forces in the northern Syrian town of Kobane.

The group is notorious for its brutal tactics, beheading hostages on video and carrying out suicide attacks.