Turnbull, Julie Bishop on hit list of Sri Lankan arrested in Sydney
Mohamed Nizamdeen from Sri Lanka who was arrested in Sydney and charged with terrorism-related offences, had Australia’s then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and former foreign minister Julie Bishop on the hit list.
The university staffer charged with terrorism-related offences in Sydney had previously worked on a cybersecurity app and been photographed with police, Nine News reported.
Nizamdeen, 25, was arrested by members of the NSW Joint Counter Terrorism Team at Kensington yesterday.
He was refused bail to appear at Waverley Local Court today.
Police allege documents containing graphically detailed plans to facilitate terrorism attacks were found at the University of NSW, where Nizamdeen was a staff member.
Nizamdeen allegedly compiled a list of targets that included Australia’s then prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and former foreign minister Julie Bishop, a police source has confirmed to the ABC.
Former speaker Bronywn Bishop and a number of prominent sites including the Sydney Opera House, police stations and train stations were also included, Fairfax Media reports.
The investigation led police to execute a search warrant at a unit in Defries Avenue at Zetland at 2am, when they seized a number of electronic items.
Police also allegedly found a notebook that named a number of locations and individuals that are “potential targets”.
“They are symbolic locations within Sydney,” Detective Superintendent Michael McTiernan told reporters today.
“We have both psychologists and investigators looking at that document to try to interpret the intent and capability, but that is in essence the offence that is before the court.”
Nizamdeen, who is in Australia on a student visa, is believed to be affiliated with Islamic State, Det Supt McTiernan said.
He was employed as a contractor at the University of NSW and has allegedly travelled back to Sri Lanka and “other areas”.
Articles published by the University of NSW describe the work Nizamdeen had done with other students on various projects.
In one he talks about his work on a cybersecurity app his team developed as an education tool.
“Cyber security is a current hot topic… if it’s not carefully protected we can be left vulnerable and open to theft,” Nizamdeen said in the article.
Nizamdeen was not known to police and does not have any criminal history in Australia, police said.
Authorities insist there was no ongoing threat to the community following the arrest.
“Our JCTT investigators work around the clock and act quickly to disrupt any threats to community safety,” JCCT Commander, Detective Acting Supintendant Mick Sheehy said.
“The community should feel safe knowing our law enforcement agencies are working together to investigate all individuals who come to our attention.”
Det Supt McTiernan said information from the public was vital in protecting the community.
“This investigation is a tangible example of swift action from our joint teams, and the importance of close ties between police and the community,” he said.
“If you see something that doesn’t seem quite right, be vigilant, reach out to allow us to make an early intervention.”