Increasing numbers of young women are altering the profile of Australians joining the Islamic State (IS) group in Iraq and Syria, Attorney-General George Brandis said Saturday, enticed by the "false glamor" of the organization.
"At an earlier time, perhaps even six months ago, we were concerned almost entirely about young men," Brandis said, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).
"But a more recent estimate by the national security agencies suggests that a growing number of young women are traveling to participate in that fighting as well."
Brandis said about 90 Australians were now believed to be caught up in the conflict, compared to 70 last year, the ABC reported.
Ever more young people were being "enticed and ensnared here in Australia with the false glamour of participating in the civil war on behalf of ISIL, or Daesh," he added, using alternative acronyms for the group.
"The Australian people should be aware that this is a real and growing problem."
Canberra has passed a law criminalizing travel to terror hotspots without good reason, fearful that nationals will pose a risk when they return radicalized. Under new laws, anyone who heads to nominated areas will face up to 10 years in jail.
In December, Senator Brandis accused Islamic terrorists of using foreign fighters as "cannon fodder" and "propaganda tools" as he revealed 20 Australian nationals had been killed in Syria and Iraq, where ISIS controls huge swathes of territory.
Young women have been targeted over and over again by the terror group, which recruits women to support its male terrorists and serve as wives, baby-sitters, and mothers to future jihadists. Two weeks ago, an ISIS cell recruiting women in Morocco on the internet was busted by local police.