The Australian Teen Who Joined ISIS, Abdullah Elmir, Has A Menacing Message For Australia
On the same day that Australia agreed to send in 200 ground troops to join the fight against ISIS in Iraq, a video appeared online starring one of its citizens — who had a very different mission. An ISIS propaganda video featuring an Australian teen speaking for the terror group was posted to YouTube on Monday night. Like previous ISIS videos, this one addresses the West at large, but uses the teen to put special emphasis on Australia. The footage marks the first time Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott is singled out and threatened, and it also underscores Australia's heavy involvement in the international coalition against ISIS.
In the video, which has since been removed from YouTube, 17-year-old Abdullah Elmir is dressed in military gear, holding a rifle, and surrounded by other ISIS members. The spotlight is on him, however, as he delivers a haunting message to Western leaders, vowing that ISIS will fight until its black flag was flying all over the world. But as an Australian, his presence is meant to appeal to his fellow Aussies.
Appointing the 17-year-old Australian to speak on behalf of ISIS is a clear attempt to attract other young and impressionable teens like him, who might be enticed by the seemingly powerful position Elmir holds. The video allows him to make sweeping threats and deliver a direct message to some of the world's most powerful leaders. But how much of it is just for show, and is it really worth it? Last month, Prime Minister Abbott issued a statement that any returning Australian fighters will face severe punishment as his government beefed up its anti-terrorism laws.
A Message to the World
In the same vein as previous ISIS videos, Elmir makes it clear that the group remains strong and undaunted by the coalition's attacks.
His Message to Prime Minister Abbott and Other Leaders
The teen specifically targets Australian Prime Minister Abbott, but also makes mention of Britain and the U.S.
Who Is Abdullah Elmir?
Originally from the Bankstown suburb of Sydney, Elmir told his family that he was going on a fishing trip in June, disappearing with another teenage Australian boy. It is believed that the two entered Turkey and then crossed the border into Syria to join the fight. His friends and family described him as a "normal teenager" who liked video games and playing with the family cat. The other boy has since returned to Australia.
What Is Australia's Involvement So Far?
Australia sent in eight F-18 fighter jets to the coalition, and since the beginning of October, Australian aircraft have been flying in support of the U.S. and other allies, mostly in refueling and surveillance roles. The country is now upping its commitment by sending in 200 special forces troops to assist, train, and advise Iraqi security forces.
Images: Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Getty Images (2)