TWO men have been arrested in Western Sydney counter-terrorism raids over an alleged plot to target NSW Police and Australian Federal Police buildings as well as the naval base at Garden Island.
NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn this morning confirmed two men had been arrested in dawn raids but denied earlier reports the plot centred around 2014 New Year’s Eve festivities at the naval base.
Abdullah Salihy, 24, was arrested at Merrylands and Mohammed Almaouie, 20, was arrested at Bankstown. They are being held at Merrylands and Bankstown police stations respectively.
NSW counter-terrorism police and Australian Federal Police conducted the raids as part of Operation Appleby.
Police will charge Salihy with making a document likely to facilitate a terrorist attack, an offence that carries a maximum 15-year jail sentence.
Almaouie will be charged with conspiracy to do an act in preparation to commit a terrorist act, an offence that carries a penalty of life imprisonment.
Ms Burn said the arrests related to documents seized during previous Operation Appleby raids.
“We will be alleging that this charge relates to matters that we were investigating last year,” she said.
“It also relates to the five arrests that we made on December 10.”
Ms Burn said there was no specific or current threat of a terrorist attack.
“This was a group of people who came together with the idea, with the intent to do something and they started to make preparations to carry out a terrorist act,” she said.
This morning’s two arrests bring the total number of people arrested as part of Operation Appleby investigations to 13.
Garden Island, the alleged target of the plot, is north of Potts Point in the suburb of Woolloomooloo and the location of a naval base.
Operation Appleby is an ongoing operation being conducted by the Sydney-based Joint Counter Terrorism team, which is investigating persons suspected to be involved in domestic terrorist acts, foreign incursions into Syria and Iraq and the funding of terrorist organisations.
OPERATION APPLEBY AT A GLANCE
– Two men aged 24 and 20 arrested today (December 23, 2015)at Merrylands and Bankstown on terror-related offences.
– The 24-year old was charged with making a document likely to facilitate a terrorist attack.
– The 20-year old was charged with conspiracy to do an act in preparation to commit a terrorist act.
– Today’s raids follow the arrests of five people on December 10, 2015, over conspiracy to conduct an act in preparation for a terrorist act.
– In the December 10 raids a 15-year-old boy from Georges Hall and a 20-year-old from Raby were charged.
– Three other men, believed to all be inmates at the Goulburn Supermax prison, were also charged on December 10.
– That trio were already before the courts on related and unrelated matters.
– All arrested men on December 10 are associates of those connected with the murder of police accountant Curtis Cheng outside Parramatta police headquarters in October.
– All charges to date relate to material seized by Joint Counter Terrorism Team officers in December 2014.
– Police seized documents in December 2014 that “talk about a plan” naming government buildings “specifically the AFP building”.
– Today’s arrests relate to a further plot to target Garden Island naval base.
– The original plot involved the alleged planning of an attack on a random member of the public.
– All plots relate to activities allegedly planned in 2014 and police say there was no immediate threat at the time of today’s arrests.
– The Joint Counter Terrorism Team has made 13 arrests as part of Operation Appleby, which began in 2014.