Sydney man arrested after allegedly fighting for terrorist group in Syria
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A western Sydney man has been arrested on suspicion of fighting for the terrorist group that was to become Islamic State in Syria eight years ago.
The 44-year-old Punchbowl man was arrested by heavily armed tactical officers while at the shops in Mount Lewis, near Bankstown, at 9.40am today.
The man, who is a dual citizen of Australia and Jordon, was taken to Bankstown Police Station.
Police say he is expected to be charged with two counts of engaging in hostile activity in a foreign state.
Police allege the man travelled to Syria in September 2012, where he remained until December of that year, before going there again from June until October in 2013.
While there, he allegedly fought for the terrorist group Jabhat al-Nusra.
“Suffice to say Jabhat al-Nusra is a prescribed terrorist organisation and if you do some research you’ll find Jabhat al-Nusra was the precursor to ISIS,” Acting Commander Mark McIntyre from the AFP Counter Terrorism Operations North said.
Investigators are today scouring the man’s home in Punchbowl for both physical and electronic evidence.
The NSW Joint Counter Terrorism Team began investigating the man’s travels to Syria last year, as part of an inquiry into foreign incursion and engagement in hostile activities.
The JCTT is comprised of ASIO and NSW Crime Commission investigators, as well as officers from NSW Police and the Australian Federal Police.
Officers were first alerted to the man’s activities by the NSW State Crime Command, who were investigating him over unrelated offences.
NSW Police’s Acting Assistant Commissioner Michael McLean said there is nothing to suggest the man remains radicalised, or that he had planned a terror attack in Australia.
“There has been no threat to the national security of Australia,” NSW Police’s Acting Assistant Commissioner Michael McLean told a press conference.
“The activities which are alleged today relate to activities which occurred offshore some time ago.”
Act. Asst Commissioner McLean said the man appeared “surprised” at being arrested over the historic offences and initially resisted his arrest.