SYDNEY – A French national carrying extremist material was detained at an Australian airport and subsequently deported two days after the deadly attacks in Paris, Australia's immigration minister said Wednesday.
The man, who had traveled to Australia from the Middle East, was stopped at Melbourne Airport on Nov. 15 and found to be carrying three cans of mace along with extremist material on his mobile devices, government officials said following a local media report about the incident on Wednesday.
Australian officials liaised with their French counterparts and held the man overnight at an immigration detention center before deporting him to France, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said.
"We don't have any information, as I say, to link it to the Paris attacks, but it is a reminder to us all that there are people there who would seek to do us harm," Dutton told reporters.
Dutton would not say why authorities initially chose to stop the man, or what his motives for being in Australia may have been. He said he did not know what French officials had done with the man upon his return there.
France has been under a state of emergency since 130 people were killed and hundreds wounded in extremist attacks on Nov. 13. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Australia's government raised the country's terror threat level last year in response to the domestic threat posed by supporters of the Islamic State group. Police have since conducted dozens of raids they say have been aimed at thwarting several plots in Australia, including an alleged plan to attack government buildings and a naval base in Sydney.