Australian teens arrested in plot to shoot Jews - report

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29 Apr 2024, 10:11 am

Teens plotted to buy guns and attack Jewish people after Sydney bishop was stabbed, police allege

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Four teenagers plotted to buy guns and attack Jewish people days after a bishop was stabbed in a Sydney church, according to police documents cited in news reports on Monday.

Five teens, ages 14 to 17, were charged in a Sydney court on Thursday last week with a range of offenses including conspiring to engage in or planning a terrorist act.

Police alleged they all “adhered to a religiously motivated, violent extremist ideology” and were part of a network that included a 16-year-old boy charged with stabbing Assyrian Orthodox Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel on April 15 as a church service was being streamed online

According to a police fact sheet tendered to the Sydney Children’s Court, two of the defendants charged last week discussed buying guns on April 19, the same day the bishop’s alleged attacker was charged, News Corp Australia newspapers reported.

Gun ownership is heavily restricted in Australia under tough national laws, but there is a black market for firearms in Sydney.

Four of the boys charged last week — a 15-year-old, a 16-year-old and two 17-year-olds — allegedly used the encrypted messaging app Signal to plan their attack.

“I wanna die and I wanna kill ... I’m just excited ... Is your plan to get caught or die or escape?” a 17-year-old allegedly said on April 20 in a group chat.

The 16-year-old allegedly responded, “We’re gonna be planning for a while ... we prefer to escape, but whatever happens, it’s the qadr (predetermination) of Allah,” the newspapers reported.

The 15-year-old allegedly said on Signal on April 19, ”I really want to target the yahood,” meaning Jewish people.

The 16-year-old allegedly said of the church attacker, “I know the bloke who done it” and “he’s my mate.”

The New South Wales Police Force media unit told The Associated Press on Monday it could not confirm the accuracy of the reports or provide a copy of the police fact sheet.

The Sydney Children’s Court did not immediately respond to a request for the document.

Lawyer Ahmed Dib, who represents two of the boys charged last week, said he had not read the newspaper report and could not comment on its accuracy.

The boy accused of stabbing Emmanuel and a priest was charged with committing a terrorist act, a crime that carries a potential maximum penalty of life in prison.

The Rev. Isaac Royel was released from the hospital with a bandaged hand and shoulder within days of the attack.

Emmanuel on Sunday gave his first sermon since the stabbing at the Christ the Good Shepherd Church.

He wore a patch over his right eye to cover a knife wound and was applauded by his congregation.

“This young man who did this act almost two weeks ago, I say to you, my dear, you are my son and you will always be my son,” the 53-year-old cleric said in comments posted on social media.

The boy’s parents, in an interview with Australian Broadcasting Corp., said their son was violent and had a suspected autism spectrum disorder, but they said he was not a terrorist.

The parents were in hiding for fear of reprisals after rioting broke out around the church within hours of the stabbing.

The ABC also reported that the son liked online videos of al-Qaida founder Osama bin Laden and the boy’s WhatsApp profile picture was an image of bin Laden.


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