Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Australian terror cell planned football attack

A group of Muslim Australians planned to attack a grand final football match in Melbourne in 2005 attended by 97,000 fans, Australia's biggest terrorism trial has heard.

But security raids on the homes of some members in July 2005, three months before the Australian Football League (AFL) grand final, forced the group to change its target and begin planning attacks on Melbourne's casino during a Formula One race weekend or another football match, the court heard.

Muslim spiritual leader Abdul Nacer Benbrika and 11 of his followers have pleaded not guilty to charges they planned a bomb attack to force Australia to withdraw its troops from Iraq.

Australia has about 550 combat troops in Iraq, which it plans to withdraw by about the middle of this year. Australia also has about 1,000 troops in Afghanistan.

A former associate of the 12 men told the Victorian Supreme Court yesterday that Benbrika had told him the group was targeting the AFL grand final, the biggest football match in Australia each year, local media reported from the court.

"He said the AFL grand final was the original target," Izzydeen Atik told the court.


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1) Australian terror cell planned football attack

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