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Australia charges 5 men with suicide plot

Three men arrested for plotting a suicide attack on a military base were on Wednesday slapped with terrorism charges even as a person, who is in custody in an unrelated case, denied being a terrorist and accused Australian troops of killing “innocent” people in Iraq.

world Updated: Aug 06, 2009 00:40 IST

Three men arrested for plotting a suicide attack on a military base were on Wednesday slapped with terrorism charges even as a person, who is in custody in an unrelated case, denied being a terrorist and accused Australian troops of killing “innocent” people in Iraq.

A day after the terror bid was foiled, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said the government was considering listing Shebab, inspired by Somalia’s al Qaeda, as a terrorist organisation.

With Wednesday’s charging, a total of four terrorists, whom police say are Shebab insurgents, have now been charged with preparing to storm the sprawling Holsworthy Army barracks in Sydney with automatic weapons, in what would have been the country’s worst ever extremist assault.

Wissam Mahmoud Fattal, the fifth man who was already in police custody in connection with a case, refused to stand for Magistrate Peter Reardon before his angry outburst from the dock.

Fattal denied being a terrorist and said Australia’s troops were killing innocent people overseas.

“You call me a terrorist. I have never killed anyone in my life,” he said. “Your army kills innocent people in Iraq.”

Fattal, who spoke with a heavy accent and was sometimes hard to understand, also attacked Israeli forces, commented on the Palestinian situation and said Australian troops were also killing innocent people in Afghanistan, local media reported.

“Take me from this country,” the accused said as he was being led out by security guards.

Fattal was one of three men who were charged this morning over Tuesday’s raids in Melbourne to appear in court on Wednesday for a filing hearing.

Rudd said listing Shebab as a terrorist organisation has been the subject of some internal deliberation within the government for a period of time.