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Intercepted phone calls between alleged #terrorist recruiter Hamdi #Alqudsi and #ISIS chief Mohammad Ali #Baryalei revealed in court
Alleged Syrian recruiter: Hamdi Alqudsi (pictured on Tuesday outside a court in central Sydney) is charged with seven counts of recruiting the men to enter ‘into a foreign state, namely Syria, with intent to engage in hostile activity in Syria, in particular, engaging in armed hostilities in Syria’
Candace Sutton, Daily Mail Australia
The intercepted phone calls of an alleged Australian terrorist recruiter, who is charged with helping young people join jihadist networks in Syria, have been heard in court.
Sydney man Hamdi Alqudsi allegedly acted as the liaison man and advisor between Australia’s most senior Islamic State leader, Mohammad Ali Baryalei, and the would-be terrorists and organised travel, hotel accommodation, different overseas currencies, security, a Syrian contact and ‘general encouragement and support’, according to the police facts in the case.
In alleged phone calls between the two men heard in court on Friday, Baryalei – who is thought to now be dead – told Alqudsi of his experiences on the front line and claimed he was almost hit by a bullet.
Lined up and shot: Beautiful Gold Coast private schoolgirl, Amira Karroum (pictured) secretly flew to Syria last December after her husband, Tyler Casey, was allegedly recruited by Hamdi Alqudsi. Ms Karroum and Casey were shot dead in mid-January in the northern Syrian town of Aleppo.
The federal prosecutors in the committal hearing against Alqudsi, who faces seven charges of conscripting Australians to join ISIS or other groups in Syria’s civil war, say they have ‘overwhelming’ evidence of Alqudsi recruiting and instructing young Australian men to go and fight in Syria.
The prosecutor tendered more than 100 pages of phone tap records as part of a case against him, at Downing Centre Local Court in Sydney.
The prosecutor said Alqudsi had organised for the men to go to ‘a particular part of Turkey which was known as the place where the fighters go to’.
In one text message, Alqudsi and one of the recruits wrote about ‘getting the green light’ for the trip into Syria.
Despite a statement by Mr Alqudsi’s lawyer, Zali Burrows, that the 39-year-old could not be identified as the speaker or texter recruiting the would-be fighters, the prosecution had declared in one text and a telephone call his own name.
‘He says “I am Hamdi Alqudsi” and in one message ‘write my name, Alqudsi”.’
Alleged mastermind: Hamdi Alqudsi (pictured on Tuesday after appearing briefly in the Downing Centre Local Court in central Sydney) is, police claim, the chief recruiter in Australia of young men who want to go and fight in Syria against government forces with groups such as the extremists in ISIS
ISIS leader Baryalei left Australia on April 10 last year on a flight to Tokyo.
At 1am on June 22 last year federal police intercepted a call between Baryalei and Alqudsi, in which Baryalei explains he ‘just got back yesterday after fighting a battle where five brothers were killed and a lot of brothers were injured’.
‘They were trying to take a large stronghold, however they encountered difficulties due to a sniper wiping everyone out’
Baryalei was himself nearly killed ‘as a bullet came so close to him that his ears were ringing from the noise of the bullet’.
Baryalei said he had watched a ‘commander die right in front of his eyes’ and described his fighters taking out two to three tanks.
On June 25 last year at 9.05pm, police intercepted another call in which Alqudsi in Sydney told Baryalei in Syria, ‘four brothers coming this week, they are leaving Australia, going to try and get them by the weekend’.
Alqudsi named them as Abu Qaqa, ‘the tall one’ (Tyler Casey), Abu Moussa (Caner Temel) and Biber’s ‘best friend’, Abu Abdul Malik (Mehmet Biber) and Abu Islam ‘ the Sudanese brother’.
‘They are ready,’ Alqudsi told Baryalei. ‘They are going to all meet in Istanbul then they are going to come all the way to Hatay [the southern province of Turkey which borders Syria] so you need to let me know if you want to pick them up from Hatay airport or do you want them to go to a particular hotel.’
Death in Syria: Hamdi Alqudsi is accused of recruiting Tyler Casey (above, left), originally from Redcliffe, Queensland and former Australian infantry soldier, 22-year-old Caner Temel (right) to Syria where they were both killed in January, Temel shot in the head by a sniper, and Casey and his wife, Amira Karroum were reportedly lined up, shot, and their bodies dismembered.
Alqudsi said ‘the brothers’ were ‘crying, affected, none of them wanted to stay in this country one second. They are ready.’
Alqudsi said the men would pay cash for the trip, with one of them giving $4000 and $2000.
On June 29, 2013 police intercepted a call at 5.59pm from Baryalei in Syria in which he told Alqudsi he had no intention of returning to Australia and he wanted to be a ‘Shaheed’ – an honor for Muslims who lay down their life for their religion or die fighting defending their faith.
He said if he did this, he would leave his wife in Turkey as he did not wish to take her into Syria.
Alqudsi said he was sending over another Australian recruit to Syria, Muhammed Abdul-Karim Musleh.
At 7.17pm on the same evening, Alqudsi called Baryalei’s phone and spoke to a man called Khatab, from the Al Nusra front and they promised to Skype each other.
Soccer nut: Mehmet Biber, a 21-year-old Turkish-Australian from Merrylands, Sydney, who loved poetry and soccer, became radicalised and was then recruited allegedly by Hamdi Alqudsi and crossed the Turkish border into Syria, from where he has posted photographs of bloodied aid workers injured in fighting.
The next morning at 6.32am, Alqudsi called a different phone of Baryalei’s, in which the latter said the extremist group he was associated with had split into two groups, Jabhat al Nusra and Dawla Islamieh who were ‘mujahadeens as well man’ and he wanted to join the second group.
Australian Federal Police say the second group is a branch of Al Qaida.
At 5.25pm on July 2 last year, Tyler Casey and Caner Temel called Alqudsi from Turkey saying the ‘boys’ had just arrived, the trip was good and they would soon fly south to Hatay.
Alqudsi told them what hotel to stay in, instructed them to stay out of sight, buy a new SIM card and change their money into Turkish, Syrian and American currency.
Alqudsi told the young men Baryalei would be waiting for them and to keep him updated.
At 3.39pm on July 3, Alqudsi spoke with Muhammed Musleh who said they were about to board a plane for Hatay. Aqudsi said Baryalei had already left the international border crossing between Syria and Turkey at Bab al-Hawa to pick them up.
Alqudsi has now been ordered to stand trial on seven charges of recruiting young men to fight with terrorist forces in Syria.
Dawn raid: Hamdi Alqudsi was arrested last December at this four bedroom house (pictured) at St Helens Park in far south-western Sydney where he had been living quietly with his family. Police allege he was helping young Australians to go and fight in Syria.
Fighters from Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) hold their weapons as they stand on confiscated cigarettes before setting them on fire in the city of Raqqa April 2, 2014.. REUTERS/Stringer
Reissa Su, International Business Times | Australia.
Australia has been warned not to allow home-grown terrorists to return to the country. A former Al Qaeda fighter who became an informant for the Central Intelligence Agency suggested that the Australian government should cancel their passports in a time of “war.”
Morten Storm told ABC that people have declared war against Australia, referring to the extremist group ISIS. He said Australian extremist fighters may use their passports as a tool to “become a terrorist.” The CIA informant is a Danish national who was once a member of bikie gangs before converting to Islam. He revealed that Islam for him was a “model way of life” for him to follow which he needed badly at that time of his life.
After his conversion to Islam, he travelled to Yemen where he was convinced by Al Qaeda militant Anwar al-Awlaki to join the “violent jihad.” He revealed in the show that he was a trusted messenger of al-Awlaki since he had built a strong relationship with him.
It was only when he failed to join the fight in Somalia because of a change in plans when he abandoned radical Islam. He contacted a Danish intelligence agent and said he wanted to help in fighting the terrorists.
Storm began working as an informer for the Danish, British and U.S. intelligence while pretending to play the role of a married Muslim man. The intelligence agencies used Storm’s relationship with al-Awlaki to capture him in Yemen. The Al Qaeda leader was eventually killed in 2011. However, Storm’s relationship with the intelligence agencies had soured when they reportedly failed to give him credit and reward for his role in toppling the terror network.
He warned of Australian teens like Abdullah Elmir who was recently seen in an ISIS propaganda video. Storm believes Elmir may have been influenced by the same factors which had convinced him in his youth several years ago. He said ISIS propaganda videos are dangerous since they are used as propaganda tools. Storm suggested that governments should ban the dissemination of ISIS-related videos. Australians fighting alongside ISIS believe they are part of the Islamic Ummah or an Islamic nation, he said.
Meanwhile, two of the four brothers from Sydney who were recruited to ISIS were reportedly deemed too “obese” to fight with the extremist group. Their mother was shocked when she received a text message from one of her sons, telling her he and his brothers had arrived in Syria, according to reports. The mother appealed to her sons to return home.
Friends in low places … 17-year-old Abdullah Elmir appears to have fallen in with Mohamed Elomar. Source: YouTube
THE wanted Australian terrorist Mohamed Elomar appears to have surfaced in the same Islamic State propaganda video that featured the Sydney teenage runaway dubbed the Ginger Jihadist.
Abdullah Elmir, aged 17, shocked the world on Tuesday when he delivered a depraved threat to world leaders including Tony Abbott, saying the black flag of IS would eventually fly all over the West.
The teenager left home in June after telling his parents he was going on a fishing trip.
A closer inspection of the video has caused speculation to mount about the identity of another man in the chilling video. Intelligence officers are now investigating whether the man to Elmir’s right is the notorious extremist, Elomar.
Elomar, a former boxing champion, joined IS in Syria and has appeared in many propaganda videos holding severed heads.
He became a poster boy for the depraved death cult when shocking images surfaced of his two young sons holding a severed head.
Depraved … Elomar has risen to prominence for gory photo shoots featuring severed heads of IS dissenters. Source: News Corp Australia
Young friends struggle with Elmir’s shock turn:
FRIENDS of the Australian teenager have come out in defence of their former mate.
The former Bankstown schoolboy, Elmir, was branded a “stupid idiot” by family members and a “dickhead” by Australian Senator David Leyonhjelm after he appeared in the IS video.
But his young friends say they “defend his legacy” as they struggle to get their heads around the drastic transformation they’ve seen in the boy.
Speaking to the ABC one of Elmir’s friends said, “his friends were taken by surprise by his sudden departure”.
“It’s causing a lot of conflict on social media,” she said.
“His close friends are trying to get everyone to respect Abdullah’s decision and not cuss him as he was just as normal as anyone else.”
Another friend told the ABC through Facebook, “never make judgements on a situation you’ve never been in. Never make judgements on decisions you’ve never had to make.”
Another also said, “I swear, people get mad because we defend his legacy, he is still our mate and that’s not changing anything.”
Before travelling to the Middle East it has been reported that Elmir had a love of theatre and last year, while in year 10, wrote about looking forward to more great performances.
Brainwashed…family members of Elmir, say he has been brainwashed by IS.. Picture: Youtube. Source: Supplied
He ran away from his Bankstown home on June 20, soon after his 17th birthday, with his 16-year-old friend, known only Feiz.
Elmir told his parents that he was off on a fishing trip, but his true motives were much more sinister.
He travelled to Perth, and then flew out to Malaysia and then Turkey before crossing the border into Syria.
Intelligence agencies believe he has been in Syria for the past four months, but he was not considered a priority target by intelligence agencies before the release of the video.
Abdullah Elmir, 17, is believed to have left Australia in June. ABC News.
A 17-year-old Australian fighting with the Islamic State (IS) group has appeared in a propaganda video in which he tells Prime Minister Tony Abbott the terrorist group will never stop fighting.
The speaker is believed by Australian security agencies to be Abdullah Elmir, a 17-year-old Australian who went missing from his home in Sydney’s west at the end of June.
In the video he delivered a message specifically mentioning Mr Abbott and Australia.
“To the leaders, to Obama, to Tony Abbott I say this; these weapons that we have, these soldiers, we will not stop fighting, we will not put down our weapons until we reach your lands, until we take the head of every tyrant and until the black flag is flying high in every single land,” he said.
He said IS would fight until the black flag was flying over Buckingham Palace and the White House.
“Bring every nation that you want to come and fight us. It means nothing to us. Whether it’s 50 nations or 50,000 nations, it means nothing to us,” he said.
“Bring your planes. Bring everything you want to us. Because it will not harm us. Why? Because we have Allah.”
Elmir left for Syria with another Australian teenager
Elmir disappeared in June, along with another 16-year-old Australian boy.
VIDEO: Australian jihadist Abdullah Elmir, who uses the alias Abu Khaled, singles out Tony Abbott in address to IS militants (Youtube)
It is believed the pair travelled to Turkey and then crossed the border into Syria to join IS militants.
The 16-year-old was later intercepted by his father and has since returned to Australia.
In a statement, Mr Abbott said the video “again highlights the threat posed by ISIL [Islamic State]“.
“ISIL is a threat that reaches out to Australia and our allies and partners,” he said.
“That is why Australia has joined the Coalition to disrupt and degrade ISIL in Iraq and is giving our law enforcement and security agencies the powers and resources they need to keep Australia and Australians as safe as possible.”
Shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus said: “It is tragic that a misguided young Australian has become caught overseas up in this terrorist cause,” he said.
“We have been working with the Government to do all we can to prevent Australians from travelling overseas to join the foreign conflict in Syria and become further radicalised.”
Expert says video is obvious IS recruitment pitch
Greg Barton, a director at the Global Terrorism Research Centre, said the video is obviously a recruitment pitch.
“Of course part of the appeal of the video is here’s a kid from Bankstown, now he’s with the Syrian fighters and he’s right in the middle of the action,” he told 7.30.
“And that, for kids, is attractive.”
Mr Barton said the video may appeal to Elmir’s peers.
“His actual speech is rather banal, but rather banal by our expectations,” he said.
“But for teenagers or 20-something young men, it’s probably quite moving.”
Former AFP counter-terrorism intelligence analyst, Leah Farrall, said Mr Abbott’s own rhetoric had fed into the ISIS propaganda cycle.
“I think the Australian Prime Minister has a responsibility to brief the Australian public when there are legislative changes involved and when the threat level has changed,” she told 7.30.
“But over and beyond that I think the rhetoric that has been used to address the situation, the Team Australia element and a lot more bravado-based statements that came out in situations like this, should be toned down because it just gives political oxygen to the other side.”
Muslim community leader says video sends ‘wrong message’
Sydney Muslim community leader, Jamal Rifi, used his contacts in Lebanon, where his brother is justice minister, to try and find Elmir and his 16-year-old friend when they originally left Australia.
Mr Rifi said today’s video is distressing.
“What I saw today made me very upset with a heavy heart because that was a death sentence for this boy,” he told 7.30.
“[It] also sent all the wrong messages to his family; I really feel for them, because today they probably have realised that he’ll no longer be able to come back to Australia.”
“To end up where he is right now is something I don’t wish anyone from our family, from our community, from our society… to end up where he is right now.”
Opposition leader says Russian president is ‘thumbing his nose’ at the rest of the world over the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 on July 17.
Shorten said Putin knew more about the plane tragedy than he had let on so far. Photograph: Alexey Druginyn / Ria Novosti / EPA
Gay Alcorn and agencies
Australia should not welcome Vladimir Putin to the G20 summit because the Russian leader is “thumbing his nose” at the rest of the world over the shooting down of MH17, the opposition leader Bill Shorten says.
The government has confirmed the Russian president will attend the summit in Brisbane in November.
Shorten said there was plenty of evidence pointing to Russian involvement in the 17 July downing of the Malaysia Airlines flight over eastern Ukraine, in which 38 Australian citizens and residents were among the 298 dead.
Ukraine and western countries have accused Russian-based rebels of shooting down the plane with a Russian-made missile, allegations Putin has denied.
“It was an act of murder,” Shorten told reporters in Melbourne on Monday. “How is it that the president of the Russian Federation, Putin, can thumb his nose at the rest of the world, go wherever he wants, without there being any repercussions or any cooperation with the independent investigation as to how this happened?” He said Putin knew more about the plane tragedy than he had let on so far.
“I happen to think that when you deal with an international bully the way you do it isn’t by laying out the red carpet, so no, I don’t think he’s welcome, I don’t think most Australians want him here.”
The Labor leader said Tony Abbott should not meet Putin.
“I wouldn’t give him the time of day,” Shorten said.
On Sunday Shorten said he thought most Australians would be “extremely uncomfortable” about welcoming Putin.
Paul Guard, whose parents, Roger and Jill Guard, were killed in the MH17 crash, said little would be achieved by Putin staying away from the G20 leaders’ summit next month.
“It wouldn’t achieve much by uninviting him because dialogue is the way forward and I hope the G20 might be a good platform on which to strongly voice our disapproval of his government’s policy and approach to Ukraine,” Guard told Guardian Australia.
“It might be uncomfortable for people to shake hands with him (but) at the end of the day, what do you achieve by not inviting someone like that? It would only play to his domestic politics.”
Guard pointed out that Australia had little say in the matter. Russia is a member of the G20 and the federal government has indicated there was little support from other members to exclude the Russian president.