Published: Wed, July 03, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Australian police arrest 3 in counter-terrorism raids

Australian police arrest 3 in counter-terrorism raids

SYDNEY-Australian counter-terror police said they arrested three men during raids in suburban Sydney on Tuesday as part of an investigation into domestic ISIS sympathizers.

Australian Federal Police Assistant Commissioner Ian McCartney said Tuesday that a 20-year-old suspect is expected to be charged with preparing for a terrorist act and preparing to enter Afghanistan for the goal of engaging in hostile activities on behalf of the Daesh group.

A 20-year-old suspect had been monitored by police for a year since he returned to Sydney from Lebanon, Australian Federal Police Assistant Commissioner Ian McCartney said.

The men were arrested in raids in the city's suburbs after their online activities raised suspicion.

In addition to the Sydney plot, the 20-year-old planned to travel to Afghanistan to fight there for ISIS, and the 23-year-old was prominent among extremists online globally.

Police said one of the suspects had come under the watch of authorities after returning from Lebanon a year ago, alleging he had made plans to go to Afghanistan to fight with the Islamic State.

"There are still those people in the community who wish to do us harm", Mr McCartney said.

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The third man - described as an "associate" - will be charged with lesser offences.

However he had not selected a specific target or time to carry out any attack, according to police.

The 20-year-old Greenacre man is expected to be charged with one count of acting in preparation for a terrorist act and one count of engaging in preparations for incursions into foreign countries for the goal of engaging in hostile activities. He could be imprisoned for 10 years.

The two other suspects, a 23-year-old man and a 30-year-old man, could face sentences of up to 10 years in prison.

NSW Police Counter Terrorism and Special Tactics Commander, Assistant Commissioner Mick Willing, said the internet allows individuals to influence others with their extremist ideologies.

The AFP yesterday said they had monitored Mr El Matari since he returned from Lebanon past year.

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