NA­TION Fathers and sons in ter­ror plot raid

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - SHAYA LAUGHLIN JANET FIFE- YEOMANS

TWO fa­ther- and- son ter­ror teams linked by mar­riage are al­legedly be­hind a plot to blow up an in­ter­na­tional flight out of Syd­ney us­ing a home­made bomb dis­guised as an ev­ery­day 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.

But early last week po­lice picked up a “small piece of in­tel­li­gence” about a pos­si­ble “Is­lamistin­spired” plot to use a crude home­made bomb. This 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 they as­sessed the risk to pub­lic safety was too high.

“There was a se­ri­ous threat that had to be shut down,” a se­nior of­fi­cer said.

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 ap­pli­ance, 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.

The other two men were ar­rested in Lakemba, with the younger of the two dressed only in a towel.

The four have not been charged. Po­lice ap­plied to the Fed­eral Court yes­ter­day to hold them for up to seven days. Then, un­der Com­mon­wealth laws, they will have to be charged or re­leased.

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.

Po­lice are con­cerned that those who were caught were clean­skins, not as­so­ci­ated with known groups.

“With ter­ror­ism 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 “cred­i­ble” plan was “Is­lamist- in­spired” and likely tar­geted at the avi­a­tion in­dus­try.

Po­lice tape up ev­i­dence af­ter a Surry Hills house was raided.

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