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.

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