A 42-year-old man was arrested in the NSW farming town of Young this morning for allegedly advising Islamic State on high-tech weapons, including missiles.
Dozens of AFP officers raided a property 370km south-west of Sydney following an 18-month investigation. They were seen searching the area with metal detectors. It’s reportedly not the first time they have visited the property.
The arrest does not relate to any planned terrorist attack in Australia.
Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull held a press conference this afternoon to provide further details after justice minister Michael Keenan tweeted about the arrest earlier this afternoon.
Turnbull said there was “no immediate domestic attack planning”.
“Police will allege that the man arrested has sought to advise ISIL on how to develop high-tech weapons capability,” he said.
“This highlights that terrorism, support for terrorist groups, and Islamist extremism is not limited to our major cities.”
The prime minister said the man “acted with intent to provide ISIL with the… hi-tech capability to detect and develop missiles”.
— Andrew Colvin (@AFPCommissioner) February 28, 2017
AFP commissioner Andrew Colvin said the Australian-born man worked as an electrician in Young, had acted alone and had contact with Islamic State.
He was a “researching and designing laser warning devices to help warn against incoming guiding munitions used by coalition forces in Syria and Iraq”, and offered advice on long-range guided missiles.
“In terms of the advice he was providing, we will allege it was fairly sophisticated and well-planned,” he said.
Colvin said he faces “a number of offences, which include two serious foreign incursion offences” which carry life imprisonment.
“The charges we will lay today against this man are serious,” he said.
The accused has been named as Haisem Zahab. He appeared in court today and did not apply for bail was remanded in custody.
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