Australian IS recruiter Neil Prakash 'still alive'

Screengrab from video showing Australian Islamic State militant Neil Prakash
Image caption Neil Prakash, also known as Abu Khaled al-Cambodi, appeared in IS propaganda videos

An Australian militant thought dead is still alive and under arrest in the Middle East, according to reports.

The Australian government in May said Neil Prakash, a senior recruiter for the so-called Islamic State group, had been killed in a US air strike.

He died in the Iraqi city of Mosul, Attorney-General George Brandis said at the time.

But the New York Times, citing senior US sources, now reports that Prakash is still alive.

Prakash handed himself to Turkish authorities several weeks ago, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation said.

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Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Counter-Terrorism, Michael Keenan, said the government could not comment on intelligence matters.

"The government reported Prakash's death in May on the basis of advice from the US government that he had been killed in an air strike," he said in a statement on Friday.

"But as we have said previously, the government's capacity to confirm reports of deaths in either Syria or Iraq is limited. These places are war zones, with many ungoverned spaces."

'Recruiter and attack facilitator'

Prakash, also known as Abu Khaled al-Cambodi, has been linked to attack plots in Australia and appeared in propaganda videos and magazines.

Using the acronym of the previous name of IS, Mr Brandis said in May that Prakash was a "prominent Isil member and a senior terrorist recruiter and attack facilitator".

"Prakash has been linked to several Australia-based attack plans and calls for lone-wolf attacks against the United States," he said.

"He has actively recruited Australian men, women and children, and encouraged acts of terrorism."

The Melbourne man, of Cambodian and Fijian heritage, converted to Islam from Buddhism in 2012. He left Australia for Syria in 2013.