Australian Minister of Home Affairs Peter Dutton inspects St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo, Sri Lanka. File/Reuters
Australia on Monday designated a right-wing extremist group as a terrorist organisation for the first time, a ruling that gives Canberra the power to imprison members of the neo-Nazi group.
The classification of UK-based Sonnenkrieg Division - also known as SKD - follows a similar ruling made by Britain last year.
“SKD adheres to an abhorrent, violent ideology that encourages lone-wolf terrorist actors who would seek to cause significant harm to our way of life and our country,” Peter Dutton, Australia’s Minister for Home Affairs said in an emailed statement.
The head of Australia’s ASIO intelligence agency, Mike Burgess, said on Monday that SKD and other right-wing groups accounted for 40% of terror-related investigations carried out over the past 12 months.
Australia, a staunch US ally, is on heightened alert after a series of “lone wolf” attacks in recent years.
In 2019, a teenage neo-Nazi who called for Britain’s Prince Harry a race traitor months after his marriage to US actress Meghan Markle was jailed in Britain alongside another member of SKD for terrorism offences.
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The House members, largely left-leaning Democrats and led by Representative Andre Carson, noted that Shireen Abu Akleh held US citizenship and pointed to divergent accounts on how she died on May 11.
Israeli troops shot and killed a teenage Palestinian boy as clashes erupted when they entered a volatile town in the occupied West Bank early on Saturday, the Palestinian health ministry and local media said.
The ongoing COVID wave, declared last week, has fuelled concerns over a lack of vaccines, inadequate medical infrastructure and a potential food crisis in the country of 25 million, which has refused outside help and kept its borders shut.