Australia

Australian teenager in court over terrorist bomb plot

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Media captionThe 17-year-old was arrested on Friday, as Phil Mercer reports

An Australian teenager who was allegedly planning a bomb attack has appeared in children's court charged with terrorism offences.

The 17-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was arrested in a raid on his home in Melbourne's northern suburbs on Friday.

Police said his arrest halted a plot to detonate three homemade bombs in the city. He was remanded in custody.

The teenager did not apply for bail and will face court again on 26 May.

He was charged with engaging in an act in preparation for, or planning a terrorist act. He was also charged with possessing items connected to a terror plot.

None of his family appeared in court on Monday, according to local media, which also reported he had dropped out of school and posted radical statements on social media.


Analysis: Phil Mercer, BBC News, Sydney

Australia is confronting what once was unthinkable; the enemy within.

The authorities are increasingly concerned about the marginalised and impressionable. In March, two teenage brothers were intercepted by security staff at Sydney Airport after being suspected of trying to travel to Syria to join Islamic State (IS).

The Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said they were "kids, not killers", but the radicalisation and recruitment of adults and children by militants is a mounting challenge for the intelligence agencies.

Tareq Kamleh, a doctor who slipped through the net, recently goaded his homeland in an IS propaganda video, where he urged other medical professionals in Australia to join him in Syria.


Series of raids

The arrest comes after five teenagers were detained last month, also in Melbourne, for allegedly planning an attack on an Anzac Day ceremony.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Friday's raid came after a tip-off from the public
Image copyright EPA
Image caption It is one of a series launched in recent months by Australian state and federal police

Last September saw the country's biggest counter-terrorism operation, with 15 people arrested.

In a separate case, South Australian doctor Tareq Kamleh, who is believed to be working for Islamic State (IS), has accused Australia of having "blood on its hands" and says he will never return to Australia.

Dr Kamleh, who has worked in several Australian hospitals, appeared in an IS propaganda video in April saying he had gone to Syria to work for IS.

The Medical Board of Australia has begun regulatory action regarding Dr Kamleh's medical registration.

In a social media post reported by local media, Dr Kamleh said the drone strikes that had occurred since he had been in Syria had killed civilians rather than soldiers.

"Good work 'Team Australia'!....from what I've seen you have more blood on your hands than ISIS has on their knives," his post reportedly said.

Devices detonated

In Friday's Melbourne raid, police detonated three devices that had been found in the home of the teenager.

Heavily-armed officers made the raid after a tip-off to a security hotline.

"There is evidence of a bomb plot that was in a reasonably advanced state of preparation," said Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Saturday.

Police said they were unable to confirm what the target for the alleged attack was.

"But let me tell you, something was going to happen," Australian Federal Police Deputy Commissioner Mike Phelan told a press conference in Melbourne.

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