Federal Police raids this morning have resulted in a 22-year old man, Omarjan Azari, appearing in a Sydney court charged with planning a terrorist act designed to “shock, horrify and terrify”.
Azari is accused of conspiring with Mohammad Baryalei, the man described as a “top terrorist recruiter” in Australia. The arrest is one of about 15 resulting from raids across western Sydney and Brisbane. The raids, involving 800 police and described as the largest in Australian history, took place as a result of information gleaned from an intercepted telephone conversation in recent days.
Media reports say the arrests related to a plot to capture and behead a random member of the public. Reports say the plan involved filming the beheading as a propaganda tool for the Islamic State movement (also known as ISIL or IS) in Iraq. The basis and veracity of these claims is uncertain. The Australian Federal Police have been guarded in their comments on the raids. Prime Minister Tony Abbott said: “This is not just suspicion, this is intent.”
Political leaders were quick to respond to the raids during the day.
Queensland Premier Campbell Newman held a press conference with Police Commissioner Ian Stewart. Opposition Leader Bill Shorten commented on the raids, as did the ALP’s Immigration spokesman, Richard Marles, and Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young. [Read more…]