Man arrested at Young, NSW for allegedly researching missiles for Islamic State
A 42-year-old electrician alleged to be helping Islamic State develop sophisticated missile technology is behind bars after being arrested at Young, north-west of Canberra.
Haisem Zahab, an Australian citizen, is alleged to have been researching how to develop laser missile detection equipment for IS and helping the extremists develop their own destructive missile arsenal.
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) spent much of yesterday swarming over the property he lived in with his family, who were present when he was arrested.
AFP Commissioner Andrew Colvin announced the arrest, which came at the end of an 18-month operation, flanked by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Justice Minister Michael Keenan.
"We will allege he has utilised the internet to perform services for ISIL," Commissioner Colvin said.
"Firstly, by researching and designing a laser warning device to help warn against incoming guiding munitions used by coalition forces in Syria and Iraq.
"Secondly, we will also allege that he has been researching, designing and modelling systems to assist ISIL's efforts to develop their own long-range guided missile capabilities."
Zahab charged with foreign incursion offences
Commissioner Colvin said Zahab, who is a trained electrician, had conducted "fairly sophisticated" research.
Zahab appeared in Young Local Court yesterday afternoon, charged with two foreign incursion offences, which carry a maximum sentence of life imprisonment and one count of failing to comply with an order to assist access to data.
He did not apply for bail and will reappear next week at Parramatta Local Court.
Mr Turnbull said the arrest was not linked to any immediate terror threat, and was quick to spruik the Coalition's work to strengthen anti-terrorism legislation.
"Police will allege that this individual, in a regional centre, acted with intent to provide ISIL with the ... technical capability, and high-tech capability, to detect and develop missiles," Mr Turnbull said.