SYDNEY, Aug. 20 (UPI) — Seven men believed to be prospective terrorists were intercepted at a Sydney airport Thursday.
The group originally drew a red flag last week when they attempted to board a plane into Malaysia. Counter-terrorism units then intercepted them as they attempted to board a flight to the Middle East.
Two groups were detained Thursday, as the original group had split into one of five and another of two. The individuals were carrying over $10,000.
Border Protection Minister Peter Dutton acknowledged that something had happened but did not publicize specifics as he spoke to reporters at a press conference at Australia’s Canberra. The names of the individuals have not been released, but it is believed that their identities were familiar to authorities. All seven had their passports suspended.
The incident took place on the same day that Australia’s government confirmed its plan to rid dual-national terrorism suspects of their Australian citizenship.
This policy has been criticized as placing too great a load on Australian courts. It is currently under review by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security. This organization is led by parliament member Dan Tehan, who recently voiced support for the Australian bombing of Islamic State (IS) targets in Syria.
Dutton also acknowledged being concerned with young people “who might be seeking to travel overseas for reasons that would horrify Australians and their parents and family and community no doubt as well.”