Court documents connect the man believed to be Australia’s most senior ISIS member to the alleged plot to kidnap and execute members of the public in Sydney and Brisbane. Court documents show that 22-year-old Omarjan Azari of Guildford, Sydney, the first person to be charged in connection with the plot, is alleged to have conspired with Mohammad Ali Baryalei, who has been identified in an arrest warrant as the top recruiter for ISIS of Australians fighting for the group in Iraq and Syria.
22-year-old Omarjan Azari is accused in Sydney’s Central Local Court of conspiring to act in preparation or plan a terrorist act or acts. He is one of 15 mostly Afghan Australians arrested earlier Thursday in an alleged plot to carry out executions in Sydney and Brisbane. The court is told the charges against Azari stem from a single phone call intercepted earlier in the week. Commonwealth prosecutor Michael Allnutt:
It’s been an immediate reaction to a clear, imperative danger
He does not apply for bail, and the case is adjourned until November 13.
Australian counterterror officials arrest 15 people alleged to be involved in a plot to carry out beheadings of random people kidnapped off the streets in Sydney and Brisbane. The raids of more than a dozen properties across 12 Sydney suburbs by around 800 federal and state police officers are Australia’s biggest ever operation.
Australia raises its terror threat level to High from Medium at the advice of the Australian Secret Intelligence Organization (ASIO), indicating that an attack is considered ‘likely’ but not imminent.
We have no specific intelligence of a particular plot. What we do have is that there are people with the intent and capability to mount attacks.
Sharrouf tweets a photo apparently showing his seven-year-old son holding the decapitated head of a Syrian soldier. Caption:
That’s my boy
In the photographs featuring Sharrouf and his son the heads are blackened and bloated, having been dead for a week.
An investigation by ABC’s 7:30 program identifies 33-year-old Mohammad Ali Baryalei from Sydney as Australia’s most senior ISIS member. Baryalei is from an aristocratic Afghan family that came to Australia as refugees as a child, and has worked as a security guard in King’s Cross and made a brief appearance as an extra on the true crime show Underbelly. Police say that in 2013 he traveled to Syria to fight with extremist groups and has since become the top recruiter of Australians to ISIS, involved in its operational command in Syria and Iraq as a facilitator for Australians traveling to join jihad. Baryalei in an intercepted phone call with his handler in Sydney:
Four brothers coming this week. They are leaving Australia. Going to try to get them by the weekend. Abu Qaqa is the tall one that was doing Dawah with you. … The brothers yesterday, they were crying, affected, none of them wanted to stay in this country one second.