Notorious Australian jihadist Khaled Sharrouf is alive and being held prisoner to Islamic State for attempting to flee Syria, according to his mother-in-law Karen Nettleton.
Ms Nettleton had attempted to visit the war-ravaged country in a bid to bring her grandchildren back to Australia and reportedly told authorities that her son-in-law was still alive.
Federal Attourney-General George Brandis confirmed that the government were aware of the claims but could not verify it, The Australian reports.
“Whatever the position, the Sharrouf case is the clearest possible example of the perils that people expose themselves to when they foolishly travel to the Middle East to fight with terrorists,” Senator Brandis told the publication.
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The information comes just days after a voicemail analysis from a call made after Sharrouf’s ‘death’ was analysed by officials, and found to almost certainly be the voice of the terrorist.
The threatening voicemail was believed to be legitimate by law enforcement officials and adds fire to wide-spread rumours that he is still active in Syria.
National manager of counter-terrorism for the Australian Federal Police, assistant commissioner Neil Gaughan, said the call had been thoroughly assessed.
“The conversation was some months ago and at the time the assessment was that he was still alive. Whether that holds true is difficult for us to determine because of the fluid nature of operating environments in Iraq and Syria,” he told the Daily Telegraph.
Sharrouf’s eldest daughter revealed her father had died in a drone strike in June 2015, although it was never confirmed by authorities.
Ms Nettleton landed in Sydney last month without her five grandchildren, claiming the media had ruined her rescue mission to Syria.
Her lawyers have not confirmed that she made the claims, saying "any information is deleterious to Ms Nettleton’s family".
Did Sharrouf fake his death for his family?