The ABC confirms Australian teenager Jake Bilardi, who is linked to a suicide bombing attack in Iraq, left bomb-making materials at his family’s home before going to Syria.
Australian teenager Jake Bilardi, who has been linked to a suicide bombing attack in Iraq, left materials for improvised explosive devices at his family home before going to Syria, the ABC has confirmed.
It is understood Bilardi’s family in Melbourne located the devices and alerted authorities.
Following the discovery, Australian authorities began attempting to track Bilardi’s movements in the Middle East.
Although it has been reported Bilardi planned to conduct terrorist attacks in Australia, news of the discovery of the bombs is the first evidence this went beyond mere intent.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said she did not want to comment on whether Bilardi was involved in planning an attack in Australia.
“These are matters we are currently seeking to confirm, and once I’ve had a briefing from our agencies on these issues, I will make a comment on it,” she said.
Ms Bishop said she had been aware of Bilardi’s presence in the Middle East for a number of months.
“Indeed, we are aware that he travelled overseas last August,” she said.
“In October, on the advice of our security agencies, I cancelled his Australian passport.”
Islamic State propaganda released overnight claimed Bilardi was among the latest group of suicide bombers that struck in Iraq’s Anbar province.
One image claimed to show a suicide bomber dubbed Abu Abdullah al-Australi — Bilardi’s pseudonym — before he attacked an Iraqi army unit west of Baghdad.
It featured a four-wheel drive with a smashed, taped-up rear window moving down a dusty backstreet.
An inset image showed a pale-skinned, long-haired young man who resembled Bilardi sitting behind the wheel.
There is no way to confirm the authenticity of the images, but there was a wave of car bomb attacks in Anbar province on Wednesday (local time).
Twelve car bombs exploded almost simultaneously around the city of Ramadi after dawn with at least seven suicide bombers targeting government security installations, police said.
At least 17 people were killed and 38 wounded, according to a police lieutenant colonel and a doctor at Ramadi hospital.
Ms Bishop said the Government was working to independently verify reports that Bilardi had died.
“If these reports are confirmed, this is another tragic example of a young Australian being lured to a senseless and violent death by a brutal terrorist organisation that is intent on imposing suffering and misery, not only in Iraq and Syria, but beyond,” she said.
Bilardi was recently identified by Fairfax Media as the IS recruit declared the “white jihadi” and wrongly identified as British by the British media last year.
Earlier this week Bilardi was identified as the young man shown in an image published in December holding an assault rifle in front of an IS flag.
The ABC spoke to two people who knew Bilardi and confirmed he was the young man captured in the IS picture.