Sydney man, 22, arrested after allegedly attempting to leave for Syria and fight with ISIS

By @chelean on
A passenger plane flies over a barbed wire fence as it approaches Sydney airport February 23, 2010.
A passenger plane flies over a barbed wire fence as it approaches Sydney airport February 23, 2010. Reuters/Tim Wimborne

A 22-year-old Australian-born man has been arrested at Sydney Airport for allegedly attempting to fly to Syria and fight with the Islamic State. He was said to be under the watch of law enforcement agencies for the past few months.

Named by the media as Moudasser Taleb, the Panania man was nabbed at Sydney International Airport around 10 a.m. Thursday. He was taken to Botany Police Station, where he was questioned about his alleged attempt to travel to Syria.

The arrest is the result of an ongoing investigation, with Taleb being watched by law enforcement agencies since January. The NSW Joint Counter Terrorism Team, which arrested Taleb, comprises of the NSW Police Force, the Australian Federal Police, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation and the NSW Crime Commission.

Deputy NSW Police Commissioner David Hudson said Taleb could have been radicalised through online communication. He is believed to have been planning to travel to either Lebanon or Turkey before finding his way into Syria to fight with ISIS. He hadn’t purchased a ticket yet at the time of his arrest. Hudson said there was no threat to the community as part of the arrest.

Taleb reportedly began selling his belongings on Facebook and only bought a number of provisions for his Syrian trip. He is likely to be charged under the foreign incursions law, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison, according to AFP Assistant Commissioner Ian McCartney.

“We have zero tolerance for Australians who seek to commit acts of violence of extremism,” McCartney said in a statement. “Those that are looking to do the wrong thing should recognise that the AFP and our partners will continue to work together to address this criminal activity.”

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