Terror mastermind reveals plan to attack Queen Victoria market to jihadi huntersJames Dowling and Jon Kaila, Herald Sun, June 11, 2018 :
A FOREIGN terrorist mastermind’s plan to groom a recruit online to blow up Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Market has been exposed.
The evil jihadi urged a contact he thought was a willing extremist to plant a “sequence of bombs” at the market, at a time when it was most crowded, to kill and maim dozens of “dirty unbelievers’’.
The overseas plotter, Sajed — who claimed to be part of a network of overseas terrorists — sent a series of encrypted texts and voice files over five months.
In them, he specified how to create a car bomb, which he instructed was to be driven to a crowded corner of the market and detonated.
But Sajed was unwittingly revealing his deadly plans to a Britain-based family of amateur jihadi hunters, who had lured him by posing as a willing recruit.
Sajed’s correspondence has now been handed to the Australian Federal Police and to Victoria Police’s Joint Counter Terrorism Team, who have reassured the public that there is no imminent threat of an attack on the market.
The foreign terror mastermind urged the “recruit” to pick a time when the market was most crowded. Picture: Michael Klein
The UK jihadi hunters have helped expose a series of Islamic State-inspired plots in Britain, including a planned suicide blast on an armed forces parade and an attempt to attack the Queen.
In both cases, information was passed to authorities, and the group was hailed in the UK media for exposing the plans.
The amateur jihadi sleuths turned their attention to Melbourne after chatting to UK jihadis who had links to men who are currently accused of plotting to secrete gas inside a meat grinder and smuggle it on to a flight out of Sydney.
The sleuths corresponded with Sajed over encrypted messaging service Telegram. He coached them on how to carry out the car bomb attack.
A Victoria Police spokesman said: “Our teams regularly receive information from various sources and carefully assess that information based on validity and risk. These matters were assessed earlier this year in accordance with that process and it was determined that they pose no threat in Australia.’’
The market is in Melbourne’s heart. Picture: Nicki Connolly
But the conversations are a chilling reminder that Melbourne remains a target for a mass-casualty terrorist attack.
Sajed taught his undercover recruit to cook up a homemade bomb, select a target, and conduct reconnaissance.
“Look out for such a target which should be easily accessible to you and there must be gathering of at least 100 persons; this should be a crowded place where people may gather in large number so that when you explode devices fitted in the vehicles, it may cause the maximum damage, God willing,” he said.
They discussed attacking “heathens” at St Paul’s Cath edral, shoppers at Chadstone and the William St law courts precinct or other government buildings, before setting their sights on a car-bomb attack on the market.
But Sajed cautioned that no Muslims could be harmed in the attack, as a “Muslim’s life and person is precious”.
In recent weeks, the tone of his messages shifted from planning to urging the “recruit” to carry out the deadly deed on June 14, during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
“May God accept our prayers and fasting during this month. May God make Ramadan a month of victory for us. Amen,” he said.
The shadowy Sajed is believed to live overseas — possibly in Pakistan or Bangladesh — and has a network of extremists helping him.
He sent his “trainee” a 5000-page terrorism manual, which has chapters on creating improvised explosive devices and two videos on how to cook up a “bomb in a kitchen”.
He requested maps and satellite images of the market, and told his recruit to map out the best route to deliver the bomb.
He also urged the use of disguise to reconnoitre the market to check for cameras and the most crowded areas.
He discussed a bomb-making method using common household goods, but dismissed it as it would not cause enough damage: “Although it will blast with a bang but its waves would be short and the damage would be minimal.”
One notorious now-slain UK fighter revealed to the family he was in contact with a cell of extremists in the UK willing to carry out an attack.
The family also passed on information from conversations with jihadi bride Sally Jones, who urged them to kill the Queen by attacking World War II services in 2015.
TERROR NEAR MISSES
Ali Khalif Shire Ali, 20, of Werribee, is arrested over an alleged plan to kill revellers ringing in the new year at Federation Square.
A Christmas bombing is stopped when police arrest four men and later find chemicals and materials to make explosive devices. Police believe St Paul’s Cathedral and Federation Square were the targets.
A 17-year-old is arrested for planning a Mother’s Day bombing. He had partially built explosive devices and was planning to detonate them in the Melbourne CBD, a train or police station. A court later heard the teen had been groomed by a senior Islamic State recruiter from the UK whom he was communicating with from the UK.
Police swoop on Hallam teen Sevdet Ramadan Besim who was planning to behead a police officer on Anzac Day. They found knives and swords at his family home where he had been messaging terror suspects overseas, workshopping tactics to mow down police and slit the throat of an officer.
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