The Islamic State's flag waves left of the Shahada, a flag commonly used by jihadist groups. On March 8, 2015, Australia caught two teens at Sydney airport trying to travel to join the Islamic State -- almost three months after an Islamic extremist took hostages in a cafe in the same city, resulting in a police raid that ended with the deaths of three people, including the gunman. During the siege the gunman forced hostages to hold the Shahada flag in the cafe's window. UPI/Shutterstock/Steve Allen
SYDNEY, March 8 (UPI) -- Australia intercepted and jailed two teenage boys on their way to join the Islamic State, officials say.
The 16- and 17-year-old boys were arrested at the Sydney airport on Sunday after raising suspicions during a customs check. They had been radicalized online and intended to join the group in an unspecified combat zone, according to Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton.
"These two young men ... are kids, not killers, and they shouldn't be allowed to go to a foreign land to fight then come back to our land eventually more radicalized," Dutton said, according to the BBC.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott characterized the two as "misguided young Australians" that "had succumbed to the lure of the death cult" that IS represents.
"I'm pleased that they've been stopped and my message to anyone who is listening to the death cult is block your ears," Abbot said. "Don't even begin to think you can leave Australia."
According to Australian media, the two were released into their parents' custody pending a court appearance. Dutton indicated charges would be filed against them.
The Australian government estimates that at least 90 of its citizens have gone abroad to fight with IS.
In December Iranian native Man Haron Monis took several people hostage in a Sydney cafe, forcing some to hold up a Shadada flag commonly used by jihadist groups. Police ended the 17-hour siege by storming the building, resulting in the death of Monis and two other hostages.