An Australian policeman and his bomb-sniffing dog exit the Lindt Cafe following a security sweep of the business in Sydney, December 15, 2015, on the first anniversary of the Sydney cafe siege. REUTERS/Jason Reed
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The flow of Australians joining extremist groups has reached "a plateau", the nation's domestic spy chief said Thursday, amid reports the intelligence agency has warned politicians to tone down criticism of Islam.Some 27,000 to 31,000 people from at least 86 countries are estimated to have headed to Iraq and Syria to fight since 2011, intelligence consultancy the Soufan Group said in a report last week.Lewis said in a recent interview with Australia's Sunday Telegraph that fueling tensions with the Muslim community could hurt the fight against terrorism.At the same time, financial intelligence agency Austrac said this month there was a 300 percent rise in the 2014-15 financial year of reported suspicious transactions possibly linked to terrorism compared to the previous period.
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