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Militant Islam Monitor > Articles > Muslim terror suspects arrested in Australia had been stopped by nuclear plant - Brisbane public transport disrupted after attack threat

Muslim terror suspects arrested in Australia had been stopped by nuclear plant - Brisbane public transport disrupted after attack threat

Muslims trained for attacks at retreats
November 14, 2005

Nuclear link to Sydney terror case

Threats briefly halt Brisbane public transport

http://edition.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/asiapcf/11/14/australia.terror/

(CNN) -- Australian police say some of the people arrested in a terror crackdown last week had been stopped and questioned near the country's only nuclear reactor in December last year.

Court documents on Monday showed that three of 18 terror suspects arrested -- Mazen Touma, Mohammed Elomar and Abdul Rakib Hasan -- were in a car stopped by police in December last year near Sydney's Lucas Heights nuclear facility.

The men had a trail bike with them and claimed they were there to ride it, but later gave conflicting stories to police when they were separated for questioning, a police statement tendered to Sydney's Central local court said.

A police investigation at the time found a lock for a gate to a reactor reservoir had been recently cut.

Police also allege the defendants have acquired and attempted to acquire materials -- primarily sulfuric acid, acetone and peroxide -- for the production of explosives.

The information about the possible nuclear link came as the north Australian city of Brisbane ordered bus and train services to halt for a half hour Monday following a series of phone threats, a senior lawmaker told The Associated Press.

The public transport network was suspended between 4:45 p.m. and 5:15 p.m. (0645-0715 GMT) said Queensland state Premier Peter Beattie. It was not immediately clear why that time was chosen.

Last week, Australian authorities arrested the 18 people on terrorism charges in Melbourne and Sydney, saying their 18-month investigation averted terrorist bombings.

Police have not identified the likely target.

Police arrested 10 people in Victoria and eight more in New South Wales, where Sydney is located.

The charges include acts in preparation of a terrorist act, being a member of a terrorist group, and conspiracy to commit a terrorist act. One of the suspects has also been charged with directing a terrorist organization.

At the time of the arrests, NSW Police Commissioner Ken Moroney said, "it will be alleged in court that following months of discussion, individuals had moved to the point of planning some sort of activity including the purchase of potentially dangerous materials."

Asked if bombings had been planned, Moroney said, "Certainly so."

Chemicals that, when mixed, could have made a bomb, were confiscated, he said.

No actual bombs were found.

-------------------------------

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/australasia/article327099.ece

Australian terror suspects 'sized up nuclear reactor'

By Kathy Marks in Sydney

Published: 15 November 2005

Members of two alleged terrorist cells arrested in Australia last week may have been planning to target the country's only nuclear reactor, according to court documents.

Three of the 18 men now in detention were stopped by police while driving near the Lucas Heights reactor in Sydney last December. They claimed they were in the area to ride a trail bike, but all gave different accounts of their movements when interviewed separately, police allege in a fact-sheet submitted to the court. It was later established that a security lock at the complex had recently been cut.

Seventeen men were arrested in dawn raids on homes in Sydney and Melbourne. An 18th man was detained a few days later. All have been charged with plotting to carry out terrorist acts or belonging to a terrorist organisation.

The authorities claim they foiled a potentially "catastrophic" attack by the men, whose spiritual leader was allegedly a Muslim preacher in Melbourne, Abdul Nacer Benbrika.

In a controversial move last week, prosecutors persuaded Sydney's Central Local Court to suppress details of the evidence against eight of the suspects. After challenges by media organisations, the fact-sheet was released yesterday.

Police allege that some of the men attended military-style "jihad training camps" in the Outback, and were attempting to stockpile bomb-making materials, including detonators, digital timers, batteries and hundreds of litres of chemicals.

During the raids, police say they seized machetes, samurai swords, firearms, ammunition, and books, videos and DVDs on terrorism. A computer memory stick contained instructions in Arabic for making triacetone triperoxide (TATP), an explosive.

Police claim that, during a meeting with three of the men last February, Mr Benbrika told them: "If we want to die for jihad, we have to have maximum damage. Damage to their buildings, everything. Damage their lives to show them." The conversation was recorded during police surveillance.

Mr Benbrika told them they had to seek their parents' permission to participate in jihad, saying: "If your mother says no jihad, then no jihad." Two days later, police allege, one of the suspects, Mazen Touma, duly approached his mother. Her response is not documented.

Ian Smith, executive director of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, which runs Lucas Heights, said he had been advised by police last year that the reactor was not regarded as a credible target.

He told Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio that trail and mountain bike riding were popular activities in the bushland near Lucas Heights, where radioactive medical supplies are made. No electricity is generated.

Police allege that they found two dozen bottles of hydrogen peroxide solution - which can be combined with other chemicals to make explosives - on public land behind the home of one suspect, Khaled Sharrouf. Mr Sharrouf was arrested in October after trying to steal six digital timers and about 130 batteries from a hardware store.

Another man, Abdul Rakib Hasan, tried to buy laboratory equipment and a 100-litre cooler that police claim was destined to be used to store chemicals. Two other suspects visited an auto parts wholesaler to buy large quantities of brake fluid and sulphuric acid, but were challenged by the manager, who informed them that it was a "highly volatile mix". He requested their business details, after which they left and did not return.

Members of two alleged terrorist cells arrested in Australia last week may have been planning to target the country's only nuclear reactor, according to court documents.

Three of the 18 men now in detention were stopped by police while driving near the Lucas Heights reactor in Sydney last December. They claimed they were in the area to ride a trail bike, but all gave different accounts of their movements when interviewed separately, police allege in a fact-sheet submitted to the court. It was later established that a security lock at the complex had recently been cut.

Seventeen men were arrested in dawn raids on homes in Sydney and Melbourne. An 18th man was detained a few days later. All have been charged with plotting to carry out terrorist acts or belonging to a terrorist organisation.

The authorities claim they foiled a potentially "catastrophic" attack by the men, whose spiritual leader was allegedly a Muslim preacher in Melbourne, Abdul Nacer Benbrika.

In a controversial move last week, prosecutors persuaded Sydney's Central Local Court to suppress details of the evidence against eight of the suspects. After challenges by media organisations, the fact-sheet was released yesterday.

Police allege that some of the men attended military-style "jihad training camps" in the Outback, and were attempting to stockpile bomb-making materials, including detonators, digital timers, batteries and hundreds of litres of chemicals.

During the raids, police say they seized machetes, samurai swords, firearms, ammunition, and books, videos and DVDs on terrorism. A computer memory stick contained instructions in Arabic for making triacetone triperoxide (TATP), an explosive.

Police claim that, during a meeting with three of the men last February, Mr Benbrika told them: "If we want to die for jihad, we have to have maximum damage. Damage to their buildings, everything. Damage their lives to show them." The conversation was recorded during police surveillance.

Mr Benbrika told them they had to seek their parents' permission to participate in jihad, saying: "If your mother says no jihad, then no jihad." Two days later, police allege, one of the suspects, Mazen Touma, duly approached his mother. Her response is not documented.

Ian Smith, executive director of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, which runs Lucas Heights, said he had been advised by police last year that the reactor was not regarded as a credible target.

He told Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio that trail and mountain bike riding were popular activities in the bushland near Lucas Heights, where radioactive medical supplies are made. No electricity is generated.

Police allege that they found two dozen bottles of hydrogen peroxide solution - which can be combined with other chemicals to make explosives - on public land behind the home of one suspect, Khaled Sharrouf. Mr Sharrouf was arrested in October after trying to steal six digital timers and about 130 batteries from a hardware store.

Another man, Abdul Rakib Hasan, tried to buy laboratory equipment and a 100-litre cooler that police claim was destined to be used to store chemicals. Two other suspects visited an auto parts wholesaler to buy large quantities of brake fluid and sulphuric acid, but were challenged by the manager, who informed them that it was a "highly volatile mix". He requested their business details, after which they left and did not return.

http://www.theadvertiser.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5936,17238867%255E1702,00.html

Terror suspects 'trained for jihad'

14nov05

SIX of eight suspected Sydney terrorists attended jihad training camps in country New South Wales earlier this year, a NSW court document alleges.

Three of the eight men charged after last week's counter-terrorism raids in NSW were also stopped near Sydney's Lucas Heights nuclear reactor in December 2004, the document says.

An access lock for a gate to a reservoir of the reactor had recently been cut, and the three gave different versions of the day's events to police, it says.

The men were also allegedly stockpiling hundreds of litres of chemicals used to manufacture a highly volatile explosive called TATP.

The police fact sheet relating to the eight, tendered to Sydney's Central Local Court last Friday, was released to the media for the first time today.

It said six of the men attended at least one of two training camps held in NSW's far west in early 2005.

The camps were held at two different properties near Bourke, in March and April this year.

Police allege the so-called camping and hunting camps were used for jihad training.

"Police allege that these camping and hunting trips are part of the jihad training being undertaken by this group," the 20-page police fact sheet said.

"These trips are consistent with the usual modus operandi of terrorists prior to attacks."

The six men alleged to have attended the training camps were Khaled Sharrouf, Khaled Sheikho, Mohammed (Mohammed) Elomar, Moustafa Cheikho, Abdul Rakid Hasan and Mazen Touma.

They and two others Mirsad Mulahalilovic and Omar Baladjam are charged with conspiring to manufacture explosives in preparation for a terrorist act.

The document says Touma, Elomar and Hasan were stopped in their car by NSW police near the Lucas Heights reactor, in Sydney's south, in December 2004.

The men also had a trail bike and claimed they were there to ride it, the document said.

But, according to the fact sheet, when interviewed separately by police, all three gave different versions of the day's events.

"Police inquiries revealed the access lock for a gate to a reservoir of the reactor had recently been cut," the fact sheet said.

It is alleged the eight Sydney men have links to nine others arrested in Melbourne in last week's coordinated counter-terrorism raids.

Nine Melbourne men are charged with being a member of a terrorist organisation.

A tenth man, from Melbourne, has been extradited to face a court in Melbourne today, after being arrested in Sydney late last week.

The document alleges the eight men are members of an extremist sub-group within the Lakemba branch of the Ahel al Sunna wal Jamaah Association (ASJA). "The ASJA is an Australian-based Sunni Islamic group which follows a fundamentalist ... jihadi ideology," it says.

"The sub group within the ASJA is composed of Islamic extremists who adhere to a particular hardline ... interpretation of Islam, and support the use of jihad against those perceived as enemies of Islam."

The document says the Sydney suspects, and those in Melbourne, are followers of Abdul Nacer Benbrika.

Benbrika, a Muslim preacher also known as Abu Bakr, was one of nine men charged in Melbourne early last week with being a member of a terrorist organisation.

"It is alleged that Benbrika is the spiritual leader of this group," the fact sheet says.

"Benbrika is a Muslim extremist and has publicly declared his support of a violent jihad.

"He has a core group of followers in Melbourne who are associated with the persons of interest in Sydney."

The document alleges that on February 23, Hasan, Sharrouf and another man went to Melbourne to attend a meeting with Benbrika in which they discussed jihad.

Benbrika told the men they would have to damage westerners lives in the name of jihad, police allege.

"If we want to die for jihad, we have to have maximum damage..." the document alleges Benbrika told the men.

"Damage to their buildings, everything. Damage their lives to show them.

"In this we'll have to be careful."

In July, Benbrika attended Sharrouf's home and conducted a sermon in which he told the men they needed permission from their parents to participate in jihad, police allege.

"Two days later Touma requested permission from his mother to undertake jihad," the fact sheet says.

It alleges that in March, Touma and Baladjam were recorded discussing getting fit for jihad.

During last week's Sydney raids, police allegedly found machetes, samurai swords, cassettes, DVDs, books and videos on terrorism and jihad.

One video was titled: "Sheikh Osama's Training Course".

The eight Sydney suspects will reappear in Sydney's Central Local Court on December 5.

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