COUNTER terrorism police have now charged a 22-year-old man who was arrested at Sydney International Airport, allegedly on his way to fight for Islamic State in Syria.
The 22-year-old from Panania, in Sydney’s south west, has been charged with one count of Preparations for incursions into foreign countries for purpose of engaging in hostile activities, contrary to section 119.4(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995.
Moudasser Taleb was arrested by members of the NSW Joint Counter Terrorism Team at Sydney Airport about 10am before being taken to Mascot police station where he was interviewed and charged this evening.
NSW Police Force Deputy Commissioner, Dave Hudson, Commander of Investigations and Counter Terrorism, said he wanted to reassure the public there was no active threat.
“Today’s arrest is the result of a protracted and complex investigation and demonstrates our capability to identify and disrupt the activities of those who wish to cause harm either here or overseas,” he said.
“I will keep repeating that in light of recent events, both at home and overseas, it is now more important than ever for the community and police to continue to work together, to be vigilant and if you see or hear something suspicious, to report it.”
Taleb, who is Australian-born of Middle Eastern heritage, had planned to buy his ticket at the airport and police are expected to allege he intended to fly to Lebanon or Turkey then find his way into Syria.
“He hadn’t actually purchased a ticket at the time of his arrest this morning,” Mr Hudson said.
Parts of Syria were declared off-limits by the federal government in December 2014, making it a Commonwealth offence to enter the country which is enduring a crippling civil war.
“We believe that he was acting alone in this particular act and was radicalised by himself,” Mr Hudson alleged.
“We are in the process of continuing investigations and there are certain covert activities taking place as we speak.”
Taleb allegedly bought a number of provisions to take with him to Syria and began selling his belongings on Facebook.
Australian Federal Police Assistant Commissioner Ian McCartney, National Manager Counter Terrorism, said this operation is a testament to the dedication and determination of counter terrorism investigators.
“This operation is another example of the strength of the co-operation between State and Federal agencies and the collaborative approach we take to investigating terrorism offences. We are committed to doing everything we can to keep all Australians safe,” Assistant Commissioner McCartney said.
Anyone with information should always come forward no matter how small or insignificant you may think that may be. The National Security Hotline is 1800 123400.