CANBERRA, Australia — Two Australian brothers aged 16 and 17 were stopped at Sydney Airport on suspicion that they were young jihadis headed to join ISIS, officials said Sunday. The young brothers from Sydney raised the suspicions of customs officials as they attempted to depart on Friday afternoon, Border Protection Minister Peter Dutton said. He did not say where the pair were headed apart from a Middle Eastern "conflict zone" and also refused to say what was found in the boys' luggage that raised suspicion.
"These two young men aged 16 and 17 are kids, not killers, and they shouldn't be allowed to go to a foreign land to fight then come back to our land eventually more radicalized," Dutton told reporters. The boys' parents were "as shocked as any of us would be" to discover their sons had attempted to leave the country, Dutton said, adding that the boys had been radicalized over the Internet. He did not say who had paid the boys' air fares, adding that charges would be filed against the boys. As juvenile suspects, they cannot be identified.
"These were two misguided young Australians, Australian born and bred, who went to school here, grew up here, imbibed our values, and yet it seems they had succumbed to the lure of the death cult and they were on the verge of doing something terrible and dangerous," Prime Minister Tony Abbott told reporters. "I'm pleased that they've been stopped."
— The Associated Press