Mohammed Ali Baryalei
Place of Birth: Afghanistan;
The Baryalei family arrived in Australia more than 30 years ago as refugees from Afghanistan.
He was recruiting fighters to the Islamic State’s cause. He is alleged to have recruited half of the 60 Australians fighting in the Middle East.
Baryalei left Australia in April 2013 to go to fight for the Islamic State in Syria. And he was understood to have a significant say in some of the group’s operations.
In Syria, Baryalei initially joined the al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, but he later defected to Islamic State.
He used a network of recruiters in Sydney to identify potential fighters and help fund and arrange their travel to Syria to fight with IS.
On 17 and 18 September, 2014, about 800 officers conducted a massive overnight manhunt in Sydney and Brisbane, in response to intelligence about a plot to kill non-Muslims. Police charged 15 people with conspiring to commit a terrorist act with Baryalei.
Fourteen ISIS recruits were reportedly ready to leave Australia for Syria. Baryalei instructed them to instead stay, kidnap people off the street, and videotape their beheadings for propaganda. He made contact with his ‘followers’ by sending orders from the battle fields of Syria and Iraq.
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