Teen charged in Australia with collecting documents on ways to stage terrorist acts

Police officers and security staff standing outside the Sydney Opera House on Jan 14, 2016.
Police officers and security staff standing outside the Sydney Opera House on Jan 14, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

SYDNEY (AFP) - The Australian authorities have charged a teenager with collecting documents on ways to stage terrorist acts, reportedly including advice on carrying out a successful stabbing and making a bomb, officials said on Tuesday (Jan 26).

The 18-year-old from the western Sydney suburb of Guildford was arrested late on Monday (Jan 25) and charged with "three counts of collecting documents likely to facilitate terrorist acts", the New South Wales joint counter-terrorism team said.

The boy allegedly obtained an image of a document in Arabic "which provides instruction on how to carry out a successful stabbing attack, connected with the preparation for a terrorist attack", the Sydney Morning Herald reported, citing police charge sheets.

He also allegedly had an Arabic document that gives information on how to make an improvised explosive device, the newspaper reported.

The images of the documents were allegedly collected by the teenager in December and January, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported, adding that one of them was allegedly published by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

The teenager, who appeared in a Sydney court on Tuesday, did not apply for bail and will return to court on Feb 2. The media named him as Sameh Bayda.

Canberra has been increasingly concerned about home-grown extremism and raised the terror threat alert level to high in September 2014.

The authorities have conducted a series of counter-terrorism raids in various cities, while the government has passed new national security laws.

The government has also cracked down on Australians attempting to travel to conflict zones including Syria and Iraq.

A 17-year-old was last week charged with making threats on social media that led to Sydney's iconic Opera House being evacuated in a security scare.

In December, five people including a 15-year-old boy were charged in Sydney over a terror plot targeting a government building.

And in October, a civilian police employee was shot dead by a boy, also 15, outside the police headquarters in western Sydney. The teenager was killed in an exchange of gunfire with officers.