Australia's most wanted ISIS terrorist Neil Christopher Prakash — earlier believed to be dead in US airstrikes in Mosul — has been arrested in Turkey, officials have confirmed.
Prakash was a senior ISIS recruiter and instigated many terror plots in the US and Australia. He was reportedly arrested many weeks ago after Australia contacted Turkey with information that he was trying to enter the country. He was arrested when he tried to cross the Syrian border into Turkey with fake name and documents.
Turkey is currently negotiating with several countries that want to interrogate the senior ISIS leader, who is from Melbourne. A New York Times article on Thursday said that Prakash had been wounded but survived an airstrike.
Australian Defence Minister Marise Payne had previously released a joint statement with Attorney-General George Brandis saying that Prakash had died in an airstrike.
"The Australian Government has been advised by the United States Government that Australian citizen and member of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Neil Christopher Prakash, was killed by a US airstrike in Mosul, Iraq, on 29 April 2016," the statement released on May 5 said.
"Neil Prakash was a prominent ISIL member and a senior terrorist recruiter and attack facilitator. Prakash has been linked to several Australia-based attack plans and calls for lone-wolf attacks against the United States. He has appeared in ISIL propaganda videos and magazines and has actively recruited Australian men, women and children, and encouraged acts of terrorism. He is considered to be Australia's most prominent ISIL recruiter," the statement said.
He could be extradited to Australia, which had issued a first-instance warrant for Prakash's arrest in August 2015. If the charges he faces in Turkey are minor, Australia would want him to be extradited for a litany of charges, including planning terror plots, foreign fighting, recruitment and attack planning.
Prakash, a convert, is now called Abu Khaled al-Cambodi. He was allegedly communicating with a group of men in Melbourne plotting an Anzac Day terrorist attack in 2015.