Terror Suspect Wanted ISIS Stronghold In Blue Mountains, Police Allege
The self-declared commander of Islamic State in Australia was a teenager when he began telling his followers "we are terrorists", sought out guns and tried to set up a stronghold in the Blue Mountains, police allege.
Isaac El Matari, now 20, was one of three men arrested in Sydney this week during anti-terror raids.
He was charged on Wednesday with being an IS member, planning a terror attack and preparing for a hostile incursion into a foreign country.
El Matari had declared himself "the General Commander of IS in Australia" and told other persons of interest "we are terrorists", court documents state.
Anti-terror investigators allege he had "answered the call of war" and spoke of "sacrificing himself" for IS.
The Greenacre man was allegedly planning on travelling to Khorasan province -- an IS stronghold in Afghanistan.
His preparations included obtaining an Australian passport and visiting the Pakistani consulate to obtain a visa.
At Penrith's Flight Centre he allegedly purchased a ticket for a flight to Islamabad via China.
He would then be smuggled across the border into Khorasan province and, once there, get his hands on a rifle, authorities believe.
But El Matari's terror plots were also focused on Australia, according to court documents.
He was allegedly trying to import guns and TNT explosive and had collected United States army uniforms at an undisclosed location.
He is accused of planning to "create a stronghold in the Blue Mountains" and operate a contingent of IS fighters and choosing locations in Sydney to conduct guerilla-style terrorist attacks.
AFP Assistant Commissioner Ian McCartney earlier this week said the plot was in the "early stages" of planning and targeted police stations, defence establishments, embassies and consulates, councils, courts and churches in Sydney's CBD.
El Matari did not appear at Parramatta Local Court on Thursday and his lawyer did not apply for bail.
Two of his friends turned up but did not speak to media as they hurried from the court.
A day earlier, one of the men also sat in the public gallery of Bankstown Local Court when El Matari's co-accused, Radwan Dakkak, appeared.
Dakkak, 23, was arrested in the same raids and also charged with being a member of a terror organisation.
When the prosecutor on Wednesday named that organisation as "Islamic State" the alleged terrorist smiled to supporters and raised his eyebrows.
A group of young men smiled back.
Court documents reveal Dakkak "knowingly" joined IS in mid-December.
Detectives say Dakkak, from Toongabbie, is "prominent in the global online extremist community". He did not apply for bail either.
Dakkak and El Matari are expected back before Parramatta Local Court on August 30.