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International terror experts gather in Melbourne for conference


Counter terrorism experts from around the world gathered here on Monday to discuss means to combat global extremism, as Australian police warned of increased possibilities of attacks ahead of the holiday season.

The International Counter Terrorism Forum, a three-day conference being hosted for the first time outside the US, brings together experts from intelligence agencies, officials and academics from countries such as the US, UK, Canada, France, Singapore, New Zealand and Belgium, to focus on terror prevention, reports Efe news.

Ross Guenther of the Victoria Police, which is hosting the forum, said that the “reality is that terrorism is very much a global threat”, and “we recognise that this is something that no single organisation can combat alone”.

In an interview with the Australian daily, Guenther praised the timing of the conference ahead of the upcoming Christmas and holiday season, which in recent years has seen spikes in terror-related violence.

In December 2014, a gunman held 18 people hostage at a shopping mall in Sydney for 16 hours, which ended with the deaths of two hostages and the perpetrator.

Twelve people were killed and 56 injured last year when a truck was driven into a Christmas market in Berlin. The attacker claimed allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) terror group.

The conference comes after Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced on Saturday that his forces had defeated IS militants, although other nations such as Australia believe this victory does not mean an end to terrorism.

“Iraq’s liberation does not mean the fight against terrorism and IS in Iraq is over,” Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said in a joint statement.