An Australian citizen believed to be a top recruiter for Islamic State is under arrest, the New York Times reported on Friday, citing an unnamed US military official, months after Australia said he had been killed in a US air strike.
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Australia said in May that Neil Prakash, who was linked to several Australia-based attack plans, was killed in an air strike in Mosul, Iraq, on April 29. The New York Times said Prakash was wounded in the attack and arrested by a Middle East government “in the last few weeks”. The Australian Broadcasting Corp, citing Turkish and Australian officials, said he was arrested in Turkey.
Australian Attorney-General George Brandis, who announced Prakash’s death in May, declined to comment on “matters of intelligence or law enforcement operations”. Justice Minister Michael Keenan said in an email response to Reuters that the government’s “capacity to confirm reports of deaths in either Syria or Iraq is limited”.
Melbourne-born Prakash had appeared in Islamic State videos and magazines and had actively recruited Australian men, women and children and encouraged acts of terrorism. Australia last year announced financial sanctions against Prakash, including threatening anyone giving financial assistance with punishment of up to 10 years in jail.