Man allegedly attempting to join IS arrested at airport
A WESTERN Sydney man police believe was radicalised online could face life behind bars after allegedly attempting to board a plane to fight with Islamic State in Syria.
Moudasser Taleb, 22, was arrested and taken to Mascot police station after he took a taxi to the airport yesterday, where police allege he intended to buy a one-way ticket to Lebanon or Turkey.
From there, they believe he wanted to find his way into Syria and take up arms with the terror group.
"We will be alleging that through online communication he was radicalised," NSW Police Deputy Commissioner David Hudson said.
Taleb was communicating with people overseas, allegedly motivated by his own desire to join IS, but police are still investigating whether any relationships in Australia fuelled his radicalisation.
"We believe he was acting alone in this particular act and was radicalised by himself," Mr Hudson said.
Taleb, Australian-born with a Middle Eastern background, allegedly put his belongings up for sale on social media and bought army gear similar to fatigues and survival kits to prepare for the theatre of war.
But he had not even bought his ticket at the international terminal before he was swarmed by state and federal counter-terrorism cops about 10am.
Police raided Taleb's family home in Matts Ave, Panania, where neighbours had seen him pray and chant in the street wearing floor-length white robes.
"He and an older man were praying in the street and throwing their arms skywards," one neighbour said. "They seemed intent on praying and were chanting together."
Police emerged carrying bags of computer equipment.
Last night he was charged with preparing to enter a foreign country to engage in hostile activity - an offence that can result in a life sentence. He will appear at Central Local Court Friday.
"The charge … is serious and it's significant and should not be underestimated. The Australian government has recognised that and increased the penalty to life in prison," Australian Federal Police Assistant Commissioner Ian McCartney said.
Police will also investigate whether Taleb communicated with any of the 200 Australians believed to have fled to the war zone.
Parts of Syria, in particular Raqqa province, were declared off-limits by the federal government in December 2014.
Police have urged anyone with information to always come forward - no matter how small or insignificant they may think it is
The National Security Hotline is 1800 123400.
Originally published as Wannabe 'bought survival kit' before airport bust