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Australia targets radical Islam at home

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Police guard a house that was involved in predawn raids in western Sydney on Sept. 18. Intelligence "chatter" has revealed that militants plan to attack Australian politicians and government buildings.   © Reuters

BANGKOK -- Australia is emerging as a major breeding ground for radical Islamic terrorists, and this has prompted a swift and tough response from Canberra to protect the country against the rise of Islamic State, Syria's Jabat Al Nusra and other terrorist groups.

     Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced on Aug. 5 that sweeping new anti-terrorism laws will be introduced, while existing measures, passed following the London bombings in 2005, will be extended. He also earmarked 630 million Australian dollars ($549 million) and new, wide-ranging powers for government spy agencies, and wants to introduce tougher penalties for offenders. Then, on Sept. 12, Abbott raised Australia's terror alert to "high" as he unveiled a fresh military commitment to assist the U.S. in rooting out the Islamic State group in Iraq by force.

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