Seized: teenager plotting ‘imminent’ Sydney terrorist attack
Michael Howie, ES
Tuesday 17 May 2016
Arrested: Tamim Khaja is alleged to have attempted to leave Australia to join Islamic State
Australian police have arrested a teenager who is alleged to have been preparing to launch an “imminent” lone terrorist attack in Sydney.
The 18-year-old, named in media reports as Tamim Khaja, was expected to be charged with planning a terrorist attack, the Australian Federal Police said.
They said another charge — preparing to enter a foreign country to engage in hostile activities — was expected to be filed in connection with an earlier alleged attempt by the teenager to travel to Syria. If convicted, he could face a maximum life sentence.
“The planning was occurring now and we would say that an attack was probably imminent,” New South Wales Police deputy commissioner Catherine Burn said.
The suspect had been making arrangements to obtain a firearm, Federal Police acting deputy commissioner Neil Gaughan said.
Police would not reveal what the alleged plans involved. Counter-terrorism officers reportedly arrested Khaja at his Macquarie Park home this morning.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, prosecutors would allege that Khaja had tried to leave the country three times to join Islamic State in the past three years.
Most recently, he was stopped at Sydney Airport in February apparently trying to fly to Syria but his passport was cancelled. He then allegedly began planning an attack on home soil — trying to acquire a gun and scouting sites in Sydney — when he was arrested.