More doubts over Sharrouf’s demise

Intelligence agencies are working to confirm whether Australian terrorist Khaled Sharrouf is still alive amid growing doubt he was killed alongside fellow Islamic State fighter Mohamed Elomar.

While authorities now appear certain Elomar was killed in a drone strike earlier this month, there is less confidence about the fate of Sharrouf who was initially believed to have also been killed in al-Raqqa, the Islamic State’s self-proclaimed capital in Syria.

Highly classified images captured by the US military have reportedly confirmed Elomar was killed.

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Three images reportedly confirm Elomar was killed by a drone during an attack on an Islamic State convoy, but there is no evidence that Sharrouf is also dead.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop on Sunday said authorities were attempting to confirm the latest reports.

“Our security and intelligence agencies are working to verify reports that Khaled Sharrouf survived a coalition air strike which is believed to have killed Mohamed Elomar,” Ms Bishop said.

News Corp says images clearly identify Elomar, with one picture showing the 30-year-old former Sydney man standing next to an SUV travelling with a tactical unit of foreign fighters.

Another image is said to show debris in the wake of the missile strike.

Sharrouf, who served a four-year jail term for his role in the Pendennis terror plot, is believed to have also survived another rocket attack on his car that killed three people in Syria in May.

Elomar and Sharrouf, who travelled to Syria in 2013, gained notoriety last year when they posed for photos holding the severed heads of enemy fighters.

“He’s (Sharrouf’s) got nine lives,” a source who had seen the images of Elomar said.

The latest development comes as Sharrouf’s wife, Tara Nettleton, seeks to return to Sydney from Syria with the couple’s five children, including a son who was photographed last year holding a severed head.


Terrorist Khaled Sharrouf with three of his children.

Fairfax Media has published a text message purported to be from Sharrouf’s eldest daughter Zaynab – who is said to have married Elomar at the age of just 13 – to her grandmother Karen Nettleton in Sydney.

“My husband got hit by a drone yesterday and got killed,” she wrote on June 20.

Karen Nettleton said last week that she was told of Elomar’s death when a messenger visited her at home.

“I was also told that Khaled Sharrouf, my daughter’s husband, was missing and presumed dead,” she said.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said there was still uncertainty in relation to the fate of Sharrouf.

“I don’t know if he is alive or dead,” he said in Canberra.

Asked about his wife and five children, Mr Dutton said negotiations around their return to Australia would need to be conducted between the family and the Australian Federal Police.


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