Three Victorian men have been found guilty of planning a raid on Holdsworthy Army Barracks in Sydney. They intended to kill as many people as possible in retaliation for Australia's involvement in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Wissam Mahmoud Fattal 34, Staney Edow Aweys 27, and Nayef El Sayed 26, were found guilty of conspiring to plan a terrorist attack. Two other men were aquitted and released from prison yesterday.
Once they decided on their target - the Sydney Army Base - they needed a fatwa, or religious decree, to justify the attack but they didn't trust the Australian religious scholars so they went to Somalia and had no trouble getting one there. The court heard that the men planned to continue firing until they had - used up all their ammunition - were overwhelmed - or killed.
Hundreds of inercepted telephone conversations, many translated from Arabic or Somali, formed the basis for the prosecution's case. The Australian Federal Police taped more than 2000 conversations over 10 months leading up to their arrests. Fattal told his parents he wanted to be the best martyr on earth and believed he would be rewarded in paradise if he sacrificed his life for Islam. "I am trusting my cause to Allah, God the Almighty" he said.
The jury saw video footage of Fattal taking a train to the Holdsworthy Army Base, walking along a perimeter fence and towards the blockhouse at the front gate. He had a good look around and then walked back to the railway station. As jurors left the court after the verdict Fattal said "Islam is truth religion - thank you very much".