Jihadist Iraq syriaSydney: At least 15 Australians died fighting alongside Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria, Australian Intelligence (ASIO) chief David Irvine said Wednesday.

“The participation of foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq is significant and includes more Australians than there was in all the previous extremist conflicts together,” Irvine said at the National Press Club in Canberra.

“ASIO believes there are about 60 or so Australians fighting with the two principal extremist Al Qaeda derivatives, Jahabat-al-Nusra and the Islamic State.”

He also said at least 15 Australians have already been killed in the current conflicts, including two young Australian suicide bombers.

Australian laws give out sentences of up to 20 years in jail to those civilians who take part in armed conflict overseas.