Suspect 'wanted to blow up parliament in Australia
A TERROR suspect who allegedly bought five stolen army rocket launchers said he would use them to blow up "the nuclear place" and Parliament House, a Sydney court heard today.
It is alleged the man, Mohammad Ali Elomar, was later seen near Sydney's Lucas Heights nuclear reactor, where an access lock for a gate to a nearby reservoir had recently been cut.
The claims were contained in a police statement tendered to Central Local Court, where Taha Abdul Rahman - the man accused of selling the rocket launchers - was today refused bail.
Mr Abdul Rahman, 28, from Leumeah, in Sydney's south-west, faces 17 charges related to the possession and supply of seven rocket launchers allegedly stolen from the Australian Defence Force. The statement did not detail how Mr Abdul Rahman allegedly acquired the weapons.
But according to the statement, he sold five rocket launchers to Elomar through an associate, Adnan Darwiche, who was last year jailed for life for double murder. Mr Elomar, 41, of Bankstown, is one of nine Sydney men charged in late 2005 with conspiring to make explosives in preparation for a terrorist attack.
Mr Abdul Rahman allegedly sold Darwiche a rocket launcher on September 30, 2003 for $15,000, and on October 9 sold him six more for $70,000. Mr Darwiche said Mr Elomar had given him most of the $70,000 to buy five rocket launchers on his behalf, the statement said. Prior to the purchase, Mr Elomar allegedly commented: "Look what is happening overseas. It is a war against Muslims. We should do something about it over here.'' According to the police statement, a source claimed Mr Elomar was "elated he had received the rocket launchers''.
"Elomar first joked that he would use them to blow up Parliament House and later more seriously said, 'I am going to blow up the nuclear place','' the statement alleged. On December 28, 2004, Mr Elomar and two co-accused were allegedly seen near the Lucas Heights reactor, each later giving differing versions of their activities to police.
Mr Elomar and the eight other terror suspects are still before the courts. Mr Darwiche was one of three men convicted of shooting dead two people at a Greenacre home in October 2003, during a feud with another family. The court was told the killers dismissed using the rocket launcher on that occasion, as they believed the warhead could pass through the fibro house without exploding.
Mr Abdul Rahman was arrested last week following a lengthy investigation by Strike Force Ridgecrop, established by NSW and federal police to probe the possession and supply of rocket launchers. The police statement alleges that from 2001, he was involved in the supply of illegal handguns, explosives and rocket launchers to the criminal element in NSW. Mr Abdul Rahman allegedly said he made just $1000 profit on each rocket launcher sold. Only one has so far been recovered.
Mr Abdul Rahman's wife, Belinda Rahman, gave evidence at his bail hearing after defence barrister William Brewer argued his client needed to care for his two young daughters at home.
As the accused looked on via videolink, Mr Brewer urged that bail considerations not be "lost in a bit of hysteria'' over the rocket launchers. But prosecutor Wendy Abraham QC opposed bail, telling the court that five of the rocket launchers introduced into the community by Mr Abdul Rahman "ended up with someone who is currently charged with terrorism offences''.
"The bottom line is these are extremely powerful weapons designed to penetrate armour and concrete,'' she said. Magistrate Allan Moore refused bail, remanding Mr Abdul Rahman in custody "for the protection of the community at large''.
He faces two counts of dishonestly receiving stolen property, seven counts of unauthorised possession of a prohibited weapon, seven counts of unauthorised supply of a prohibited weapon, and one count of possession of ammunition.
He will return to court on March 21