'Syria recruiter' charged with preparing terror attack in Australia

BRISBANE, Australia (AFP) - A man arrested in Australian counter-terrorism raids in September is facing fresh charges of preparing a terrorist attack on home soil, the police said on Friday.

Agim Kruezi, 22, was initially accused of recruiting, funding and sending militant fighters to Syria after he was detained in Brisbane on Sept 10.

He is now facing a new charge of committing an act in preparation for a terrorist act by transporting a firearm, which carries a maximum sentence of life in jail, authorities said.

Kruezi was also Friday charged with possessing machetes, knives, balaclavas, military fatigues, fuel, corks, and a firearm in connection with preparing for a terrorist act. "These additional charges are as a result of ongoing investigations into the man's activities including the alleged preparation and recruitment for incursions into Syria to fight," the federal police said in a statement.

The additional charges came after Australia last month raised its terror threat level to "high" after years on "medium" on growing concern about militants returning from fighting in Iraq and Syria.

The case against Kruezi and Omar Succarieh, 31, who was also arrested in the Queensland operation, were adjourned to Dec 19 after a hearing in Brisbane Magistrates Court.

Another man - Louis Maestracci, 32, who was charged with funding militants travelling overseas to fight after a separate Brisbane raid in late September - also had his case adjourned to the same date.

Crown prosecutor Shane Hunter told the court that the police needed more time to prepare their evidence against the men because they were busy with preparations for the Group of 20 leaders' summit in Brisbane in November.

A week after the Queensland raids, police mounted their largest-ever counter-terrorism operation across Sydney and Brisbane, with one person so far charged with serious terrorism-related offences.

In a separate incident, a "known terror suspect" - 18-year-old Abdul Numan Haider - was shot dead by police after stabbing two officers outside their station on the outskirts of Melbourne late last month.

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