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Australia Arrests Man Over Embassy Bomb Plot

  1. RobBlack

    841 Posts.

    With the arrest of this guy yesterday - is there any HC poster conspicuous by their absence in the last 2 days?

    Australia Arrests Man Over Embassy Bomb Plot
    By Grant Holloway
    CNN Sydney

    PERTH, Australia (CNN) --An Australian man has been arrested and charged with planning to bomb Israeli diplomatic buildings in Sydney and Canberra.

    Jack Roche, a 49-year-old English-born Muslim convert, appeared in a court in the Western Australian city of Perth Tuesday on charges of conspiracy.

    He faces two counts of conspiring while in Malaysia, Pakistan and Afghanistan between February 15 and May 26, 2000 to damage, by fire or explosives, diplomatic property in Australia, and to harm diplomatic personnel.

    His lawyer told the court his client was opposed to violence and would be pleading not guilty to the charges, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reports.

    Roche was remanded in custody until November 27 when he will make an application for release on bail. Prosecution says it will oppose the application.

    Australian Federal Police said the man's arrest followed extensive interviews and the execution of a series of search warrants earlier this month, but said the charges were not related to the October 12 Bali bombings.

    But Roche has previously told Australian media he has attended meetings in Australia with Abu Bakar Ba'asyir, the alleged spiritual head of outlawed terror group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI).

    He has also reportedly met Osama bin Laden and trained to use explosives with terror group al Qaeda in Afghanistan.

    The al Qaeda-linked JI group is strongly suspected of being involved in the October 12 Bali blasts which killed more than 180 people, most of them Australian.

    Australian Federal Police and intelligence agents raided a series of homes across Australia several weeks ago in relation to JI and the Bali bombings, including Roche's.

    Roche was then interviewed by Australian media and spoke of having had explosives training in Afghanistan and of his support for the teachings of Ba'asyir and for al Qaeda.

    He told The Australian newspaper that he had been attempting to recruit Westerners to help set up an al Qaeda cell in Australia.

    He allegedly did so at the request of the terror group's southeast Asian operative, a man known as Hambali.

    Roche said he had travelled to the town of Banting in Malaysia, where Hambali was living next door to Ba'asyir, and was asked to begin recruiting "three or four Caucasians" in Australia to form an al Qaeda cell.

    He was then sent to Afghanistan, where he met key al Qaeda members, including bin Laden, and learnt how to use TNT to make bombs, according to the newspaper.

    Roche told the newspaper the targets of the bombs were not to be Australian people, but those who were murdering Muslims in other parts of the world, particularly Palestine.

    However, an audiotape broadcast by Al-Jazeera television that is, according to U.S. intelligence officials, "almost certainly the voice of bin Laden" singles out Australia, which lost more people in the Bali attack than any other nation.

    Roche reportedly is married to an Indonesian woman and speaks the language fluently.

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