Fathers and sons terror link
Two father-and-son would-be terror teams linked by marriage are allegedly behind a plot to blow up a plane on an international flight out of Sydney using a homemade bomb disguised as an everyday kitchen mincer. Until last week, the four men were totally unknown to the nation’s counterterrorism authorities.
TWO father-and-son wouldbe terror teams linked by marriage are allegedly behind a plot to blow up a plane on an international flight out of Sydney using a homemade bomb disguised as a kitchen mincer.
Until last week, the four men – the fathers aged in their 40s – were totally unknown to the nation’s counter-terrorism authorities with only one conviction for negligent driving between them.
Then early last week, police picked up a “small piece of intelligence” about the possible “Islamist-inspired” plot to use a crude homemade bomb which had escalated by Thursday forcing tougher security at Sydney’s international and domestic airports.
It is believed the plot involved smuggling the bomb onto a flight bound for the Middle East, possibly Dubai, hidden in carry on luggage.
With the men under surveillance, police decided to arrest them on Saturday because the risk to public safety was too high.
“There was a serious threat that had to be shut down,” one senior officer said yesterday.
Five homes were raided in Surry Hills, Punchbowl, Wiley Park and Lakemba.
It is understood the plan was to use wood scrapings and explosive material inside a kitchen machine, such as a mincing machine. Police seized a number of items from one home, including the bottom and top half of a domestic grinder and a box containing a “multi-mincer” used to make sausages.
They also took away a number of handwritten notes, two phones, an iPad, two mobile phone sim packs and vehicle registration and insurance papers. Material to make a bomb, that was understood to be “ready to go”, was allegedly found at a house in Cleveland St, Surry Hills, where a man and his son were arrested.
The other two men arrested, a man and his son, were arrested at Lakemba, the son dressed only in a towel at the time. The four have not been charged with police applying to the Federal Court yesterday to hold them for up to seven days before they have to be charged or released under Commonwealth laws.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the threat of terror in Australian was “very real”, as he explained security had been beefed up at all major airports around the country.
“There will be days of searching and tests carried out to see what capability the men had,” the senior officer said.
Police are concerned that those who were caught were cleanskins not known to them and were not associated with known groups.
“With terrorism you can’t wait, you can’t wait to put the whole puzzle together, you do have to go early because if you get it wrong the consequences are severe,” NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said.
AFP Commissioner Andrew Colvin said the plan was “Islamist-inspired” and likely targeted the aviation industry.
“Terrorists are becoming very ingenious about figuring out new ways to defeat our security mechanisms,” Commissioner Colvin said.
“We do believe it is Islamicinspired terrorism. I think this (threat) was credible.”
At Surry Hills, neighbours said the family whose members were arrested in the suburb had lived there since 1974.
One neighbour said he was not aware of any extremist links. “Never in my life would I have expected this ... They’re a very nice family,” he said.
THREAT ‘CREDIBLE’: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull holds a press conference in relation to recent terror raids across Sydney with Minister for Justice Michael Keenan, Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police Andrew Colvin and NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller in Sydney yesterday.