Tip- off led cops to buried terror arsenal
A STOCKPILE of weapons buried in bushland by a terrorist cell was discovered on Sydney’s western fringes while the extremists were on trial for conspiring to carry out an attack.
The arsenal, concealed in PVC pipes and buried near Bankstown Airport, was quietly dug up by police and the haul was never made public.
It was a major breakthrough for counter-terrorism investigators, who believed members of the notorious Pendennis terror group were planning to inflict a mass-casualty terrorist attack.
Nine men who made up the Sydney cell had been amassing chemicals, bomb-making materials and guns before their arrest in 2005. While police seized some weapons during sweeping raids in November, 2005, officers knew there were more hidden somewhere.
It can now be revealed that a tip-off in 2008 led officers to the
buried stash. It included a number of firearms and thousands of rounds of ammunition.
At the time, Omar Jamal, Abdul-Rakib Hasan, Mohammed Elomar, Moustafa Cheikho and Khaled Cheikho were on trial for conspiring to commit an act of terrorism. Four other men, including Khaled Sharrouf, pleaded guilty to other offences.
Members of the cell bought PVC pipes from hardware stores as they grew increasingly paranoid police were poised to raid their homes in November, 2005.
Cheikho also purchased a metal detector, which police believed would be used to recover the buried weapons.
Ammunition recovered from a raid id in i 2005.
Replica firearms found at terror target Mohamed Elomar's home during counterterrorism raids in November, 2005.