An audio message purportedly released by the Islamic State (IS) on Monday, June 12, calls on members to carry out attacks on a specific group of countries during the remainder of the holy month of Ramadan, which ends on June 25. In the message - which has yet to be independently authenticated - a man whose voice reportedly matches that of IS spokesman Abi al-Hassan al-Muhajer instructs members to carry out attacks in Iraq, Syria, Iran, the United States, Russia, Australia, the Philippines, and Europe.
Heightened security measures are to be anticipated, particularly surrounding crowded areas or other significant locations (tourist sites, government installations, etc.)
In recent years, IS, as well as other groups, have called on their fighters to perpetrate attacks during the holy month of Ramadan, which the group has called a "holy month of jihad." So far during Ramadan in 2017, major attacks have been carried out in London, Baghdad, and Tehran, killing dozens.
A single gunman took a woman hostage in a residential building in Melbourne's Brighton neighborhood during the evening of Monday, June 5. Police officers responded to the area at around 16:00 (local time) and shot and killed the assailant after he came out of the building with a weapon and opened fire. Three police officers were shot and injured during the incident and one man was later found dead inside the building. The Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the incident on a news agency linked to the group despite the fact that the gunman is reported to have claimed allegiance to both IS and Al-Qa'ida, seen by many as competing groups. Officials stated that it remains unclear if the attack was planned or spontaneous or if there was any direct involvement of a terrorist organization.
Australian security forces have become increasingly worried about homegrown extremism, with the terrorist threat level being raised in September 2014. Australian officials say they have now prevented more than ten terrorist attacks over the past two years.
Individuals in Australia are advised to exercise vigilance and report any suspicious objects or behavior to the local authorities, particularly when in crowded places. Be prepared for heightened security measures: cooperate with authorities, always carry appropriate identification, and anticipate possible travel delays.