Two commercial airline pilots have fallen under the influence of IS after being radicalised online, Australian anti-terror police warn.
The men, both Malaysian, are named in a leaked report as Tommy Abu Alfatih and Ridwan Agustin.
The Times reports that both men have flown for leading Indonesian airlines and one was still believed to be working as a commercial pilot as recently as March. The Australian report says that the pilots pose a threat due to their knowledge of security and safety regimes “as witnessed by past global events” – a clear reference to 9/11.
Agustin worked for AirAsia until the company sacked him after suspecting he had contacted Islamic State. The report says: “The content he posts online has also seen a change from innocuous to a likely radicalised persuasion.”
He began using phrases favoured by Islamist radicals, including referring to the police by the derogatory “ansharu thagut” – a term used “to describe police as helpers of the oppressive government”. He also posted the location of Raqqa, the de facto IS capital, on 17 March this year.
Meanwhile, Alfatih is also believed to have still been employed as a pilot in mid-March, although his current employment status is not known.
The report says that both men have communicated with one another on social media. “Both appear to be influenced by pro-Isis elements, including extremist online propaganda by well-known radical Indonesia outlets and a suspected foreign terrorist fighter who is likely to be either in Syria or Iraq.”
“Upon review of the content from both accounts it is assessed that these persons are likely being influenced by radical elements and may pose a security threat,” the report adds.
Australian police have refused to comment on the report, but Indonesia’s anti-terror agencies said they were monitoring the men.