The Australian government was embarrassed recently when investigations revealed dozens of expats who left the country to fight with ISIS were still drawing welfare benefits, The Daily Telegraph reports.
Not only were 55 out of 57 Australian jihadis on welfare before joining ISIS prior to October last year, most continued to receive payments while in training camps in the Middle East, according to the report.
Australian jihadis who traveled illegally into ISIS territory were likely also on welfare, says the article. These taxpayer-funded ISIS recruits were likely being trained “to become terrorists intent on wanting to kill Australians.”
The Islamic State has boosted recruitment efforts in recent months over the web and social media, luring both men and women into the so-called caliphate. Three teenage London girls are suspected to have traveled to Syria with the intent to join ISIS after being radicalized online. Last week, a 19-year-old Colorado woman was sentenced to four years in prison for trying to join the organization, after falling in love with an ISIS fighter over social media, as reported by ABC News.
For Americans who succeed in joining foreign militant organizations, the question remains whether they will return home undetected and pose a risk to society. The U.S. intelligence community has declined to say how many Americans have left the country to fight in the Syrian and Iraqi conflicts, according to Fox News. But FBI Deputy Assistant Director Michael Steinbach said the threat is “not even close to being under control” in a congressional hearing earlier this month.
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