Sydney Terror Raids: Fourth Man Charged And Released On Bail

  • Sydney Terror Raids: Fourth Man Charged And Released On Bail

Sydney Terror Raids: Fourth Man Charged And Released On Bail

Just days after a local council refused to allow the construction of a new synagogue near the iconic Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia, homegrown jihadists are charged with plotting a terror attack. A third member of the terrorist cell is still being held for questioning under the country's Counter Terrorism Law.

Speaking at a press conference last week, AFP deputy commissioner Michael Phelan said the alleged plot was "one of the most sophisticated... that has ever been attempted on Australian soil". The police raids took place after foreign intelligence agencies intercepted communications from the Syrian jihadist.

An Australian man who was detained during raids to disrupt what authorities described as an Islamic State-inspired plot to bomb an Etihad Airways flight has been charged with weapons offences and released on bail, police said on Sunday. The device was recovered by police.

The Merhi and Khayat brothers are brothers-in-law.

Abdul Merhi was released on Thursday night without charge.

Police will allege the bomb was built in an everyday kitchen meat mincer and was due to be hidden in the luggage of another, unwitting, Khayat brother, Amer, but for some reason the plan was aborted.

Fortunately, however, the IED never made it onto the plane, after being turned around at the check-in desk. According to Phelan, Khayat left the airport with the bag, and his brother boarded the plane without it.

Australia, a staunch US ally that has sent troops to Afghanistan and Iraq, has been on heightened alert since 2014 for attacks by home-grown militants returning from fighting in the Middle East, or their supporters.

After their first failed attempt the terror cell allegedly began planning a second one.

The pieces for the improvised explosive device were allegedly shipped from Turkey to Australia.

Police said the alleged masterminds, however, were "a long way from having a functional device".

The men were arrested in raids across the city, and homes in Surry Hills, Lakemba, Punchbowl, Wiley Park and Bankstown were searched through the week.

Khaled Merhi was arrested on July 29 with three other men - including accused terrorists Khaled and Mahmoud Khayat. The charges carry a maximum penalty of life in prison.

Mr Coroneos spoke to reporters outside court following the brief hearing.

Counter-terrorism police obtained court permission to hold all the men for seven days under the "specified time" provisions of the Commonwealth Crimes Act.