Australia on Monday barred its citizens from travelling to Mosul in northern Iraq, in a push to combat what the government calls "growing radicalization among young Australian Muslims".
Australia on Monday barred its citizens from travelling to Mosul in northern Iraq, in a push to combat what the government calls "growing radicalization among young Australian Muslims," some of whom have fought overseas with militant groups, The World Bulletin news website reported.
The announcement by Foreign Minster Julie Bishop comes ahead of a planned offensive, perhaps as soon as April or May, to retake Mosul with a contingent of U.S.-trained Iraqi and Kurdish force of 20,000 to 25,000.
It is the second time Australia has used a tough new law barring overseas travel to specific areas, following a ban on the province of Raqqa in Syria, a key strategic hub for the so-called 'Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant' (ISIL) takfiri group.
"The government is determined to stop Australians joining the terrorist conflict in Iraq and Syria and supporting terrorist organizations," Bishop said in a statement.
Under tough new security powers won by conservative Prime Minister Tony Abbott in October, Australian citizens can face up to a decade in prison for overseas travel to areas declared off limits.
Moreover, Australia announced Tuesday it will send another 300 troops to Iraq in a joint mission with New Zealand to "help train local forces" fighting to reclaim territory seized by ISIL terrorist group.
The move became a part of a broader crackdown on what Abbott calls a growing threat posed by Australians radicalized whilst fighting overseas with takfiri groups such as ISIL, or various al Qaeda-affiliated terrorist groups.
Australia is on high alert for attacks by home-grown militants returning from fighting in the Middle East. In December two hostages and a radical self-styled sheikh who had sought to align himself with ISIL were killed in a Sydney hostage siege.