News National Trio charged after counter-terror raids

Trio charged after counter-terror raids

With the pandemic restricting travel, extremists have turned to online recruiting, ASIO says. Photo: Getty
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A suspected terror cell member who allegedly swore allegiance to Islamic State while planning an attack in Sydney has smiled while facing court.

Federal and NSW counter-terrorism police raided six properties in Sydney’s west on Tuesday morning, arresting three men.

Radwan Dakkak, 23, appeared in Bankstown Local Court on Wednesday charged with being a member of a terror organisation.

The prosecutor named the organisation as “Islamic State” as Dakkak smiled to supporters and raised his eyebrows. A group of young men smiled back.

Dakkak did not apply for bail and it was formally refused. He is expected before Parramatta Local Court via audiovisual link on August 30.

His lawyer Mohamed Abbas did not comment as he left court.

AFP Assistant Commissioner Ian McCartney on Tuesday said the alleged plot was in the “early stages” of planning and targeted police stations, defence establishments, consulates, councils, courts and churches in Sydney’s CBD.

Detectives say Dakkak, from Toongabbie, is “prominent in the global online extremist community”.

A 30-year-old man was separately charged with obtaining a financial benefit by deception and granted police bail with his matter due back in court later in July. He’s not been charged with terrorism offences.

A third man, aged 20, has been charged with preparing for a terrorist act.