New Year’s Eve lone wolf massacre avoided in Melbourne, Australia
December 4, 2017 | Brainwave Science
Ali Khalif Shire Ali from Werribee was arrested at a home in Melbourne’s south-west just before 3 pm on November 27th, 2017 after being on authorities’ radar for at least two years. He appeared before Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on the next day afternoon charged on the outline of a terrorist attack and access to documents produced by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula on how to carry out the attack.
Ali is 20 years old and seems to have connections to the friends of teenage terrorist Numan Haider — who died when he attacked two counterterrorist police officers with a knife. He is also friends with the son of convicted terrorist mastermind Abdul Nacer Benbrika along with being a part of a group who refused to stand for a magistrate while attending a previous terrorism trial. Ali additionally is supposed to have connections to 15-year-old Farhad Jabar who shot dead Sydney police employee Curtis Cheng at Parramatta in 2015 in the name of Islamic State.
Worshippers that go to the same mosque described Ali’s family as decent members of the community and they had not noticed anything suspicious about his behavior. Ali’s boss Warsame Hassan said he had been working at his computer business part-time and had not shown any signs of radicalization. He said he often asked to use a computer in the back of the store to sell and buy on website eBay.
He was described by the police as one of their “high persons of interest”, and the charges relate to actions Mr. Ali took between March and April this year, and in June. Earlier, Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton said they believed Mr. Ali was trying to get an automatic rifle to “shoot and kill as many people as he could” around Federation Square, in Melbourne’s Central Business District (CBD), during New Year’s Eve celebrations. Police said they moved in because he had been having face-to-face meetings about getting a gun, although Mr. Ali did not manage to obtain one, Deputy Commissioner Patton said.
“We’re quite confident that there’s no risk or no threat to the Victorian community now that we have removed him from society and he’s being interviewed,” Deputy Commissioner Patton said. There was no ongoing threat for the upcoming Christmas and New Year’s Eve period, he added.
Ali did not apply for bail when he appeared in court on charges of preparing a terrorist attack and collecting terrorist documents. The case was adjourned to March 13.
Holidays Season is, unfortunately, a target for terrorists worldwide. In 2016 authorities uncovered an alleged plot destined for the same area of Melbourne’s CBD during the Christmas Period.
In Australia, there are several situations described in the last years, like a Western Sydney teenager’s plot to attack Anzac Day commemorations that were among five alleged schemes in Australia directed to calendar dates such as Mother’s Day, Christmas and New Year’s Eve. The 17-year-old, who can’t be identified, was trying to obtain a gun and bomb-making instructions when police swooped on his Auburn home on the eve of Anzac Day commemorations in 2016. He is facing a maximum sentence of life in jail after he pleaded guilty in March to one count of preparing or planning a terrorist attack. Sevdet Ramadan Besim was sentenced to 10 years in jail in Melbourne for also planning an attack on Anzac Day, 2015, during which he wanted to run down and behead a police officer in Melbourne, before getting the dead officer’s gun and going on a shooting rampage. Besim chose Anzac Day to “make sure the dogs remember this as well as their fallen heroes”. A group of men is also accused of plotting to kill families celebrating Christmas in Melbourne last year by blowing up Federation Square, St Paul’s Cathedral and Flinders St Station. A teen terrorist who planned another bombing in Melbourne — this time on Mother’s Day — was only stopped when police raided his family’s home in May 2015, after he began messaging radicals overseas.
The list is getting longer although authorities have been able to uncover various planned attacks. Prevention is the focus of authorities at the moment.
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Since 2014, when the Australian threat terrorism level was raised to ‘probable’, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) has worked with its state and territory partners to thwart 14 plots. So far, 74 people have been charged as a result of 347 counter-terrorist investigations. Three men are due to stand trial in March for their alleged terror plot targeting Melbourne’s Flinders Street Station, Federation Square and St Paul’s Cathedral during Christmas 2016. The alleged New Year’s Eve lone wolf terror plot targeting Federation Square is the latest in a series of plots targeting Australia’s special days which have been foiled by police.
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Ali Khalif Shire Ali, once boasted at a meeting of Islamic extremists how he had rebuffed Australian Security Investigation Organization (ASIO)’s attempts to recruit him for information about connections to 15-year-old, Farhad Jabar who shot dead a police officer in 2015 in the name of Islamic State. He also mentioned he was offered $200 a tip but told the agents that informing against other Muslims was “haram” — forbidden.
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