A terror attack will ‘likely’ hit Australian shores within the next year, the nation’s top spy boss has said in a startling warning.
ASIO’s Director-General of Security Mike Burgess told an inquiry in Canberra on Thursday although Islamic extremists still pose a significant risk to Australia, there is also a rising threat from white nationalist groups.
In the past three years investigations into underground right-wing extremists has surged from 16 per cent of the agencies caseloads to 40 percent.
‘We have credible intelligence that individuals and small groups have the capability and intent, and we, on that basis, assess that there is likely to be a terrorist attack sometime in the next 12 months,’ Mr Burgess told the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security.
Australia’s terror threat level remains at ‘probable’, but the intelligence chief did not specify which group the attack is likely to come from.
‘Given the growth that we’ve seen in nationalist and violent extremism, we anticipate there will be a terrorist attack in this country in the next 12 months and it can come from either ideology,’ he reiterated.
He claimed that bigger cities were likely to face threat from foreign fighters who travelled to Syria under the ISIS umbrella look to return home to Australia.
‘It is the white supremacy racist narrative that does resonate with some Australians, not all, but there are a number that it does and that is of concern,’ Mr Burgess said.
‘For me, it doesn’t really matter because they are both capable of actually conducting acts of violence and that’s where we focus.