Alleged Isis recruiter Mohamed Zuhbi arrested on return to Australia
Sydney man charged with terrorism offences after he allegedly travelled to Turkey in 2013 and on to Syria, where police say he recruited foreign fighters for Isis
A 30-year-old Sydney man who is alleged to be an Islamic State recruiter has been arrested and charged with terrorism offences upon his return to Australia.
Mohamed Zuhbi arrived in Melbourne on a flight from Turkey about 4pm on Saturday and was taken into custody by counterterrorism authorities at the airport.
Zuhbi travelled from Sydney to Turkey in 2013 and then allegedly on to Syria, where he allegedly helped foreign fighters travel to the area to support Isis.
He has been charged with supporting a terrorist organisation, engaging in hostile activity overseas, supporting another person to engage in hostile activity overseas and entering a banned jurisdiction.
Zuhbi, wearing a mask, appeared via video link before Melbourne magistrates court on Sunday morning, with his case to return to the same court on 21 May.
An extradition hearing to NSW will be heard on that date.
“We have a responsibility to prevent our citizens from contributing to violence and instability overseas. Our laws are aimed at discouraging Australians from fighting in overseas conflicts and endangering their lives,” the Australian federal police’s Commander Stephen Dametto said in a statement.
“Anyone who fights with, provides material support to, or associates with terrorist groups, is committing a serious crime and will be subject to the law,” Dametto said.
“It has been an offence since 1978 to engage in hostile activity in a foreign country, unless serving in, or with the armed forces of the government of a foreign country.”
Zuhbi is also wanted by US law authorities for multiple offences including conspiracy to commit murder in a foreign country.
NSW police counterterrorism and special tactics commander, Assistant Commissioner Mark Walton, said there was no impending threat to the community related to the operation.
“Counterterrorism investigations remain a priority in NSW, and any act or plan for an act that may impact on the safety of our community – regardless of when it occurred – will be acted on with the same tenacity,” he said.