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Sydney is no stranger to terrorism, but when police bashed down the door of a Surry Hills terrace last Saturday night, there was something different in the air.
The Cleveland Street home, raided as part of an anti-terror operation, is in one of the city’s most sought-after locales — a place where inner-city trendies sashay from bar to bar.
For an operation like this to happen in a suburb adjacent to the Harbour City’s sparkling CBD, is unnerving.
But it was here, and at four other locations around Sydney, police claim to have cut down one of the most sophisticated terrorist blueprints ever attempted on Australian soil
‘Refugees’ arriving in Australia. Their backgrounds cannot ever be completely verified.
Authorities will allege they stopped two plans: the first to blow up a passenger plane with an improvised explosive device (IED) hidden in luggage, and another to unleash a potentially deadly gas bomb.
The weekend’s raids and arrests have prompted dramatic police claims, including IS sending bomb-making equipment Down Under, and a man’s plan to secret an IED inside his brother’s luggage which made it all the way into the nation’s busiest airport.
Let’s go back to April
Police claim Khaled Khayat, who was charged with terrorism-related offences, was put in touch with an IS controller by his brother — a senior member of the terrorist group in Syria.
Sometime between April 13 and mid-July, police claim an IS operative in Turkey sent a “high-military grade explosive” to Australia, which Khaled Khayat or his co-accused Mahmoud Khayat used to create an IED.
Police will allege that by July 15, the IED was built and on its way to Kingsford Smith Airport, bound for an Etihad passenger flight to the Middle East.
Does the large, fit ‘man’ in the middle of the photo look like a terrified, genuine refugee? How many have had military training?
Authorities claim the explosives were hidden inside a meat grinder that Khaled Khayat had placed in the luggage of his brother, who was unaware he had been made a mule.
Police allege it was Khaled Khayat’s intention for the IED to be taken onto the plane, but that it did not get past baggage check-in, and Khaled Khayat removed it from the airport and dismantled it.
The brother left Australia on the flight and remains overseas.
What do police believe happened next?
After the alleged first plot was aborted, police claim the group turned its attention to creating a toxic hydrogen sulphide bomb, after a directive from an IS controller.
Police will allege discussions were had about how to create the device, including the amount of chemicals to be used.
Preliminary discussions were allegedly had about where and when to use it, with closed crowde
Soft-touch Australians with doubtful intelligence give life to the Labor, Liberals and Greens immigration policies. Most genuine Aussies don’t want them, according to polls.
d spaces such as those typical on public transport mentioned.
However, authorities also say no concrete plans were made and the device was not close to being functional.
Hydrogen sulphide, or “rotten egg gas”, is a pungent and deadly chemical compound.
Lakemba features again
On July 26, UK and US intelligence agencies tipped off their counterparts in Australia about the alleged plot, and subsequently, the New South Wales Joint Counter-Terrorism Team (JCTT) was alerted.
Police said they placed suspects under surveillance.
Around that time, authorities said they built a mock IED and tested whether it could get through airport security. It didn’t.
By Friday, July 28 the JCCT, which is made up of officers from the Australian Federal Police and NSW Police, was ready to go ahead with the raids, and the following evening, July 29, they pounced.
Four men were arrested as part of the operation, and five properties in Surry Hills, Lakemba, Punchbowl and Wiley Park were searched.
Police will allege they found components of the chemical dispersion device and precursor chemicals during the execution of search warrants.
On Sunday, a magistrate granted police extra time to charge the men using special terrorism powers.
They were given seven days to charge the four men, but on Tuesday, a 50-year-old man was released.
On Thursday evening, Khaled Khayat, 49, and Mahmoud Khayat, 32, were each charged with two counts of acts done in preparations for, or planning, a terrorist act.
They did not appear at Parramatta Local Court, where bail was not applied for and was formally refused.
Outside court, their lawyer Michael Coroneos said: “My clients are entitled to the presumption of innocence.”