Nine Australian men dressed in Islamic robes appeared in a high security Sydney court on Tuesday charged with planning a terrorist attack in Australia’s largest city as part of a violent jihad to protect Islam.
“They believed Islam was under attack,” prosecutor Wendy Abraham told the Penrith Local Court at the start of a committal hearing to determine whether the men stand trial.
“Violence was the primary tool of their jihad,” she said, describing the men as Islamic extremists.
The men have been in a maximum security jail since 2005 when police and security agencies raided homes in Sydney and Melbourne, arresting a total of 18 men. Another nine men face terrorism charges in Melbourne.
In her opening address Abraham said the men were in the possession of large quantities of chemicals and electronic timers which could be used to build explosive devices capable of killing and causing massive damage, reported local media from the court.
The men used false names to buy the chemicals and used mobile telephones under false names and had firearms and ammunition.
Documents in Arabic, with titles such as “Come In And Learn Bombing”, and “Security And Intelligence”, also contained extremist and instructional advice targeting embassies and other buildings, Abraham told the court.
The nine men, who are not required to enter a plea during the committal hearing, arrived at the small court amid intense security, with armed police both inside and outside the court.
Six police guarded the men in the dock, which had been specially glassed in as part of major security renovations.
As the court adjourned for lunch one of the men’s supporters in court yelled “Allahu akbar” (God is Greatest).