By Rob Taylor
CANBERRA (Reuters) - Australia faces a rising threat from home-grown "violent jihadists", Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said on Tuesday, unveiling a counter-
Rudd announced security improvements, including face-screening and finger-printing, to better monitor visitors from countries assessed as a serious security risk. He did not name the targeted countries.
The new biometric checks come amid heightened security concerns in Western countries following the failed attempt by a Nigerian man to bring down a commercial airliner bound for the United States on Christmas Day.
Rudd said recent counter-terrorism successes in Asia and elsewhere had been offset by the rise in the number of local groups inspired by radical Islam.
"Australia now faces an increased terrorist threat from people born or raised in Australia who take inspiration from violent jihadist narratives," Rudd told reporters.
"Prior to the rise of self-styled jihadist terrorism fostered by al Qaeda, Australia itself was not a specific target. Now we are," the security report said.
Last week, five Australian Muslim men convicted of plotting a terror attack in retaliation for Australia's involvement in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were jailed for terms ranging from 23 to 28 years.