Australian ISIS terrorist conspirator jailed | Canberra weather



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A radicalized Islamic State operative who had discussed establishing a local insurgency and Australian landmarks to target spoke a lot but posed no direct local threat, a judge found. Greenacre man Isaac El Matari smiled and brought his hands to his face as he was jailed Monday for at least five and a half years for three terrorism-related offenses. The 22-year-old was arrested in July 2019, after being closely watched on his return from Lebanon, where he served a prison sentence for attempting to physically join the Islamic State in Syria. In Australia, El Matari was recorded rehearsing a speech, visiting a hunting and tactics store, and discussing how publicity for his cause could be improved by attacking certain locations. “I know how to get a political message across, I know what targets will scare people,” he told an associate. He also discussed the alleged presence of a thousand ISIS supporters in Australia and sending supporters to Lebanon for training. However, El Matari also lamented that he found no local support for his plans and called local IS supporters “cowards”. Part of his plans were to target St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney and the American Embassy and conquer a rural town the size of Orange. However, his offense was at the lower end of the scale for committing an act in preparation for and planning for a terrorist act in Australia, the New South Wales Supreme Court found on Monday. . “He spoke a lot and took little action,” Judge Peter Garling said. “He had no weapons … he had no supporters, he hadn’t convinced anyone to his cause in Australia.” El Matari’s attention then turned to joining the Mujahedin in Afghanistan, obtaining a visa to travel to neighboring Pakistan. “Even this plan was poorly worded,” Justice Garling said, noting the offender’s lack of contact with hostile forces in Afghanistan. This crime was about average for such foreign incursion offenses, the judge found. Medical reports showed the offense occurred against a background of social isolation and mental health issues, including post-traumatic stress disorder. PTSD is the result of being tortured in the infamous Roumieh prison in Lebanon, the court heard. Justice Garling also conceded that the offender was contrite. But he was not convinced by an account of El Matari leaving his extremist views for a traditional adherence to Islam, as the offender refused to testify under oath. He remained at a high risk of reoffending and would remain so at least until he completed intervention programs in the prison system, the judge concluded. During this time, his prospects for rehabilitation were judged to be “gloomy”. El Matari’s sentence was backdated to his arrest and reduced by 25% for his first guilty pleas. He also took into account his admission that he was a member of ISIS between January and September 2019. He will be 25 when he is eligible for parole in January 2025. Australian Associated Press



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