Five face terror charges in Australia

Five young men charged in Australia over a plan to sail to Indonesia to join jihadist groups in Syria.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Syria jihadist
Syria jihadist

Five young men face life behind bars after they were charged with counter-terrorism offences over a plan to sail to Indonesia to join jihadist groups in Syria, Australian police said Saturday.

The men, aged in their twenties and early thirties and whose passports had been cancelled, included notorious Australian Islamic preacher Musa Cerantonio, who was detained in the Philippines in 2014 and deported for reportedly urging people to join jihad in Iraq and Syria, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.

The men, who were arrested on Tuesday, bought a seven-meter (23-foot) boat and drove it 2,840 kilometers (1,765 miles) from Melbourne north to Queensland state where they planned to set sail to Indonesia, the Australian Federal Police said.

"The men... were each charged with one count of making preparations for incursions into foreign countries for the purpose of engaging in hostile activities," the Australian Federal Police said in a statement late Saturday.

"The maximum penalty for this offence is life imprisonment."

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation named two of the other men as Shayden Thorne and Kadir Kaya.

The Federal Police said there was no current or impending terrorism threat from the case and that the men were due at a Queensland state court hearing on Monday.

Canberra has been increasingly concerned about its citizens fighting with jihadist organizations such as Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, saying some 110 Australians had left the country to join such groups.

Australia has also long been concerned about home-grown extremism and raised the terror threat alert level to high in September 2014, the same month in which it arrested 15 terror suspects of an ISIS cell that was planning to behead a random member of the public in a campaign of terror.

At least six attacks have been foiled on Australian soil over the past 18 months, according to the government. But several have taken place, including the terror-linked murder of Cheng.

Australia has passed numerous national security laws including legislation allowing for passports to be cancelled to prevent Australians from leaving the country.

AFP contributed to this report.