Islamic cleric Abdul Nacer Benbrika wanted to kill 1000 Australians to please Allah
A Melbourne court heard yesterday that a witness would reveal that Shane Kent, 29, received weapons and explosives training at the Taliban-run al-Faruq training camp for foreign jihadis in Afghanistan.
And at a meeting with bin Laden in the country, Mr Kent, from Meadow Heights in Melbourne's north, allegedly committed to violent jihad. The alleged Melbourne terror cell's spiritual leader, Mr Benbrika embraced Mr Kent as part of his clique, the court heard, saying: "He's good, and he doesn't talk too much."
Mr Benbrika encouraged his devotees to plan a large-scale terrorist attack, which police foiled during its "developmental stages", the court heard during the opening day of the committal hearing of 13 suspects yesterday.
"If you kill, we kill here 1000," Mr Benbrika allegedly said in a conversation covertly taped by police. "Because if you get large numbers here, the government will listen."
The court heard yesterday that the group was making plans for a backyard explosives laboratory, had held secret training camps and was found with an armoury of weapons and bomb-making manuals.
And some members of the alleged terror cell were anxious to carry out an attack.
According to the police surveillance, Abdulla Merhi, 21, said he "could wait months but not years" to carry out violent jihad.
"You shouldn't kill just one, two or three," Mr Benbrika allegedly responded. "Do a big thing."
"Like Madrid?" Mr Merhi asked, to which Mr Benbrika allegedly replied: "That's it."
Twelve of the accused - Mr Kent, Mr Merhi, Izzydeen Atik, Ahmed Raad, Bassam Raad, Ezzit Raad, Majed Raad, Amer Haddara, Aimen Joud, Fadal Sayadi, Hany Taha and Shoue Hammoud - are charged with being members of a terrorist organisation which Mr Benbrika is alleged to have directed.
They face a range of other charges including making funds available to a terrorist organisation, providing support to a terrorist organisation, and possessing a thing connected with a terrorist act.
Some of the charges carry a maximum prison term of 25 years.
Mr Benbrika is also charged with directing the activities of a terrorist organisation and recruiting a person to join a terrorist organisation.
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