Terror Tradie: Aussie Electrician Designed Rockets With ISIS Flag
On a quiet property just outside the NSW town of Young, unemployed electrician Haisem Zahab was hard at work -- designing battlefield weapons systems for Islamic State.
Incredible photos released by the NSW Supreme Court show the father of six testing rockets in his backyard, computer simulations of his designs for rockets with the ISIS flag printed on them, and an elaborate device he constructed to help the terrorist group detect incoming missiles.
The images are contained in an agreed set of facts, which was released after 44-year-old Zahab pleaded guilty to providing support to a terrorist organisation -- a charge which carries up to 25 years in jail.
Zahab was arrested in 2017, when federal police officers swarmed his small hobby farm in the early hours of the morning.
It followed an 18-month investigation into members of Zahab's family who had left Australia to participate in the Syrian civil war.
From mid-2014 Zahab began using Twitter to share ISIS memes and propaganda and sent messages to other supporters of the terrorist group using encrypted messaging apps.
Six months later, he started researching laser-guided weapons online, and eventually narrowed his focus to a battlefield laser warning receiver -- a device which can sound an alarm when it detects incoming laser-guided munitions.
He used a 3D printer to make a case for the device, attached wires, toggles and switches and built the detailed circuitry inside.
By February 2015, he had completed a 288-page report summarising his work, which he forwarded on to an ISIS contact overseas for feedback.
A message recovered from Zahab's computer captured part of his communication.
"I'm just waiting on more feedback after the techies look at it," he wrote.
"I managed to put a prototype together with a single sensor."
"(I) tested it with a remote transmitter i had here and it worked fine. :)"
Over the following months, Zahab continued refining his design and the device and recorded a 57-minute video showing his schematics, with Islamic State music playing in the background.
By June 2015, Zahab had switched his focus to rockets -- which Islamic State fighters were starting to manufacture on a sophisticated scale.
After using the internet to research rocket propellant, he began testing hobby rockets in his backyard.
He made videos and took photos of his endeavours -- images police would later recover.
Zahab then began designing several different rockets and used a computer simulation program to test their capabilities.
One of the designs was for a six-metre rocket, named 'Maghrebi', which featured the Islamic State flag painted onto the weapon.
In August 2015, police phone taps recorded Zahab contacting an eBay seller from whom he'd purchased a rocket launch set.
He asked whether the set came with "A3 4TS engines", telling the seller, it was "for his son who was really ‘into space' and who just wanted to do experiments with his dad".
When police raided his property and asked about the equipment, he told them "me and my son were thinking about doing a laser tag game".
Zahab has also pleaded guilty to failing to unlock several of his electronic devices.
He's expected to be sentenced in the NSW Supreme Court on Tuesday