Australian soldier removed from secretive anti-terror program over sexual harassment allegations

An Australian special forces soldier has been removed from a secretive multinational operation tracking foreign jihadists after multiple allegations of sexual harassment from other members in the program. 

Australia is one of about 25 nations involved in Operation Gallant Phoenix (OGP), a Jordan-based intelligence cell of about 250 personnel monitoring foreign Islamic State (IS) fighters across Iraq and Syria. 

It is believed several Australians fighting with IS, including infamous terrorists Mohamed Elomar and Khaled Sharrouf, were tracked by OGP and later killed in air strikes.

The classified US-led operation also collects data captured in special forces raids, which it shares with law enforcement agencies in Europe and Asia in an effort to thwart possible IS attacks.

A source has told ABC Investigations a senior special forces operator was sent home from OGP last year after members of other nations involved in the program accused him of multiple incidents of sexual harassment.

Sources say in one alleged incident, which they claim was captured on CCTV, he “shoved” a mobile phone up another member’s skirt. 

LtoR Khaled Sharrouf and Mohamed Elomar
Khaled Sharrouf (left) and Mohamed Elomar (right) were tracked by Operation Gallant Phoenix before being killed in air strikes in Mosul.(Supplied)

One source says some OGP members are now reluctant to work with the Australian contingent of the multinational program.

An Australian Defence Force (ADF) spokesperson confirmed “a member deployed to the Middle East Region was returned from operations following allegations of misconduct”.

ABC Investigations understands Defence is still investigating the allegations and other alleged misconduct committed by Australian soldiers.

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