Australia, US appalled at decapitated head photo
By Martin Parry, AFP
August 12, 2014, 12:03 am TWN
SYDNEY -- A shocking image of what is believed to be the young son of an Australian man holding a decapitated head in Syria shows how barbaric the Islamic State "terrorist army" is, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Monday.
He made the comment while announcing Australia will likely join airdrops of supplies to Iraqi civilians besieged by jihadist IS militants on a barren mountain.
The picture, taken in the northern Syrian city of Raqa, was posted on the Twitter account of Khaled Sharrouf, an Australian who fled to Syria last year and is now an IS fighter, The Australian newspaper said.
It reportedly shows Sharrouf's seven-year-old, Sydney-raised son dressed like any other young boy in blue checked trousers, a blue shirt and baseball cap, struggling to hold up the severed head of a slain Syrian soldier by his hair.
It was captioned with the words "That's my boy."
Another photo published by the newspaper shows Sharrouf dressed in camouflage fatigues posing with three young boys whom it said are believed by security agencies to be his sons.
All are holding guns in front of the flag of the Islamic State militants who have swept across Iraq and Syria, seizing swaths of territory.
'Act of a lunatic'
Abbott, speaking to ABC radio from the Netherlands, said the pictures showed the barbaric nature of the Sunni extremists formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
"What we've got to appreciate is that Islamic State — as they're now calling themselves — is not just a terrorist group, it's a terrorist army and they're seeking not just a terrorist enclave but effectively a terrorist state, a terrorist nation," he said.
"And this does pose extraordinary problems ... not just for the people of the Middle East but for the wider world.
"And we see more and more evidence of just how barbaric this particular entity is."