Reuters is reporting that a suspect has been arrested in the deadly wild fires around Victoria. Says the news agency: "The death toll could rise to over 300."
Earlier police had released a composite photo of the suspect.
London Daily Telegraph, Feb. 12:
The man in the composite photo, who police say... has a dark complexion, is believed to have information about a suspicious fire at Ivanhoe East, in Melbourne's north-east.However, now police are not releasing a photo of the suspect, whom they arrested, nor his name.
He was apparently seen in the area wearing black trousers, a polo shirt and yellow sunglasses and carrying a black rucksack.
From Reuters video:
"There's enough emotion, there's enough harm in the community at the moment, we all understand that, but we don't need any more." -- Victoria Police SpokespersonFor days now, Australian and other blogs worldwide have been speculating on a Jihadi connection to the fires. Others are offering evidence to suggest that Jihadis even set the fires that raged through California last summer.
From Free Britania - Conservative Voice:
US intelligence channels earlier this year identified a website calling on Muslims in Australia, the US, Europe and Russia to "start forest fires", claiming "scholars have justified chopping down and burning the infidels' forests when they do the same to our lands".And Israel National News reported:
The website, posted by a group called the Al-Ikhlas Islamic Network, argues in Arabic that lighting fires is an effective form of terrorism justified in Islamic law under the "eye for an eye" doctrine.
A report from September 2008 warned that Australia had been singled out as a target for a "forest jihad" by a group urging Muslims to deliberately light bushfires as a weapon of terror.Note - Libertarian Republican Jim Fryar of Australia has a full report on the fires and analysis of the Jihadi angle at our sister blog WorldWide Liberty.
The website, reportedly run by a group called the Al-Ikhlas Islamic Network, "argues in Arabic that lighting fires is an effective form of terrorism justified in Islamic law under the 'eye for an eye' doctrine."