OP­ER­A­TION PEN­DEN­NIS

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - NEWS -

Op­er­a­tion Pen­den­nis was Aus­tralia’s big­gest ter­ror­ism in­ves­ti­ga­tion, which iden­ti­fied two ex­trem­ist ter­ror cells in Syd­ney and Mel­bourne in 2005.

Twelve peo­ple were ar­rested in Vic­to­ria and nine in NSW on Novem­ber 8, 2005. Both cells were linked by rad­i­cal cleric Ab­dul Nacer Ben­brika.

The ji­hadi cells had stock­piled guns, ex­plo­sives and bomb-mak­ing ma­te­ri­als ca­pa­ble of car­ry­ing out a mass ca­su­alty at­tack.

The Syd­ney cell used false names to buy chem­i­cals, in­clud­ing ace­tone and hy­drochlo­ric acid, and pur­chased PVC piping from dif­fer­ent com­pa­nies in 2005.

Some mem­bers went on shoot­ing trips in re­mote NSW prop­er­ties and trav­elled un­der false names. Thou­sands of rounds of am­mu­ni­tion, guns, ex­trem­ist ma­te­rial and ex­plo­sives were found af­ter their ar­rests.

One of the plot­ters, Khaled Shar­rouf, was sen­tenced to five years in jail. Shortly af­ter his re­lease in 2011 he trav­elled to the Mid­dle East to fight for Is­lamic State. Au­thor­i­ties be­lieve he was killed in an air strike.

Mo­hamed Ali Elo­mar, who po­lice said led the Syd­ney cell, was sen­tenced to 28 years jail and is not el­i­gi­ble for pa­role un­til 2026. His nephew, Mo­hamed Elo­mar, was also killed fight­ing for Is­lamic State.

Khaled Cheikho, the un­cle of Moustafa Cheikho, was sen­tenced to a max­i­mum 27 years in jail and is el­i­gi­ble for pa­role in 2026.

Mazen Touma, a model re­formed prisoner who de­rad­i­calised in jail, was re­leased from prison in 2017. Po­lice found a pipe bomb, rail­way det­o­na­tors and gun­pow­der at his home dur­ing a raid in 2005.

Ab­dul Rakib Hasan, a for­mer butcher who co-or­di­nated the pur­chase of chem­i­cals, was sen­tenced to 27 years in jail and is el­i­gi­ble for pa­role in 2025.

Moustafa Cheikho, who took part in a mil­i­tary train­ing camp in Pak­istan, was sen­tenced to 26 years jail and is el­i­gi­ble for pa­role in 2025.

Mo­hammed Omar Ja­mal was sen­tenced to 23 years jail and is el­i­gi­ble for pa­role in 2023.

Omar Bal­ad­jam was shot by po­lice dur­ing his ar­rest in Green Val­ley in Novem­ber, 2005. He was sen­tenced to 18 years in jail for ter­ror­ism of­fences and will be el­i­gi­ble for pa­role next year.

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