September 25, 2014 / 7:53 AM / 5 years ago

Australian defense force officer attacked in Sydney: police

SYDNEY (Reuters) - An Australian Defense Force member was attacked by two men “of Middle Eastern appearance” in Sydney on Thursday, police said, two days after a teenager was shot dead after stabbing two counter-terrorism officers.

The officer, who was in uniform, was approached by two men who threatened and assaulted him, a New South Wales police spokesman said. He suffered minor bruising and reported the matter to police.

Australia, a staunch ally of the United States and its escalating action against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, is on high alert for attacks by home-grown militants returning from fighting in the Middle East.

On Tuesday, an 18-year-old named as Abdul Numan Haider was shot by counter-terrorism police in Melbourne after he attacked them with a knife.

Prominent Australian Muslims say their community is being unfairly targeted by law enforcement and threatened by right-wing groups, as the government’s tough policies aimed at combating radical Islamists threaten to create a backlash.

Reporting by Byron Kaye and Lincoln Feast; Editing by Robert Birsel

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