Australia charges five men over sailing plot to join Islamic State | Reuters

SYDNEY Australian police have charged five men held earlier this week on suspicion of planning to travel in a small motor boat to Indonesia and the Philippines en route to join Islamic State in Syria.

Reuters May 14, 2016 21:45:12 IST
Australia charges five men over sailing plot to join Islamic State
| Reuters

Australia charges five men over sailing plot to join Islamic State
 Reuters

SYDNEY Australian police have charged five men held earlier this week on suspicion of planning to travel in a small motor boat to Indonesia and the Philippines en route to join Islamic State in Syria.

The men, aged between 21 and 31, were charged with preparing to enter a foreign country "for the purpose of engaging in hostile activities," an offence that carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

The five were arrested on Tuesday after towing the seven-meter motor boat almost 3,000 km (1,865 miles) from Melbourne to Cairns in northern Queensland state, police said.

They have been in custody since, and are not scheduled to face court until Monday.

"There's no current or impending threat of a terrorist act to the Australian community arising from this investigation," a police statement said.

Australia, a staunch U.S. ally, has been on heightened alert for attacks by home-grown radicals since 2014 and authorities say they have thwarted a number of potential attacks, while there have been several "lone wolf" assaults, including a cafe siege in Sydney that left two hostages and the gunman dead.

Approximately 100 people have left Australia for Syria to fight alongside organizations such as Islamic State, Australia's Immigration Minister said last month.

Police said earlier this week that it was unclear where the men had planned to put the boat in the water. Indonesia and Australia share a maritime border, but it spans several hundred kilometers of open sea at its narrowest point.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation said Melbourne-born radical preacher Musa Cerantonio, a vocal supporter of Islamic State who was deported from the Philippines to Australia in 2014, was among those charged.

Cerantonio, who converted to Islam from Catholicism at 17, was believed to be planning to join the militant group when he was deported for having "invalid travel documentation". He was placed under surveillance but not arrested upon his return.

(Reporting by Tom Westbrook; Editing by Helen Popper)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

also read

Danish Siddiqui's passing is a reminder of the high price one pays for showing the truth
India

Danish Siddiqui's passing is a reminder of the high price one pays for showing the truth

Danish's photographs were not just documentation, but the work of someone who went down to eye-level, as they say in photographic parlance.

Greek police clash with protesters in rally against mandatory vaccinations
World

Greek police clash with protesters in rally against mandatory vaccinations

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek police used teargas and water cannon to disperse people who had gathered in central Athens on Saturday to protest against mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations. More than 4,000 people rallied outside the Greek parliament for a third time this month to oppose mandatory inoculations for some workers, such as healthcare and nursing staff.

Two Turkish soldiers killed in attack in northern Syria
World

Two Turkish soldiers killed in attack in northern Syria

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Two Turkish soldiers were killed and two were wounded in an attack on their armoured vehicle in northern Syria, and Turkish forces immediately launched retaliatory fire, Turkey's defence ministry said on Saturday. "Our punitive fire against terrorist positions is continuing," the statement on Twitter on said. It did not specify where the attack occurred, but media reports said it was in the al-Bab area.