By South-East Asia correspondent Liam Cochrane in Vientiane
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says recent calls for terrorist attacks at Australian landmarks should be taken seriously.
An Islamic State propaganda magazine has called for ‘lone wolf’ attacks at locations in Sydney and Melbourne.
The threats have been played down by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and by the state’s police commissioner but not by the Prime Minister, who said recent attacks around the world showed the danger of so-called lone wolf terrorists.
Speaking in Laos, Mr Turnbull said the calls for violence in Australia represented desperation on the part of the Islamic extremists.
“As Daesh (Islamic State) comes under more and more pressure on the battlefield in Syria and in Iraq — as it is rolled back, as its territory is being taken back — it will resort to terrorist activities outside of the Middle East,” he said.
“The capacity of Daesh, of course, is much less than they proclaim it to be.
“But we do have to be very alert to the actions of these lone actors — individuals who, as I’ve described in the national security statement last week, for a variety of reasons, may be radicalised.
“(They are) often associated with mental illness, frankly, can be radicalised very quickly and engage in very destructive, lethal conduct, as we saw in Nice, for example.”
Extra security as Asian leaders converge on city
Mr Turnbull, who is in Laos for regional talks about security and economic ties, said regional cooperation was needed to keep Australians safe from extremist violence.
Laos’s capital Vientiane, has an extra layer of security for the big name guests attending the South-East Asian and East Asian summits.