Australia

Accused IS supporter Mohamed Zuhbi arrested at Melbourne Airport after deportation from Turkey

A former Sydney man has been arrested on his return to Australia from Turkey over his alleged role in working with the terrorist group.

Mohamed Zuhbi, 30, was arrested at Melbourne International Airport by members of the AFP International Counter Terrorism Investigations Response Team after arriving on a flight from Turkey at about 4pm on Saturday, the ABC reported.

An arrest warrant had been sought by NSW JCTT – comprising the AFP, NSW Police Force (NSWPF), the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, and the NSW Crime Commission – following an investigation into Zuhbi’s alleged travel from Sydney to Turkey in 2013.

Authorities will allege he then travelled from Turkey to Syria, where he allegedly facilitated the travel of foreign terrorist fighters to support IS.

The man will appear before Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Sunday morning via video link, where he will face a number of Commonwealth terrorism offences.

He will be charged with six terrorism offences, including one count of knowingly giving support and resources to a terrorist organisation, one count of engaging in hostile activity in a foreign state, three counts of providing support to another person to engage in hostile activity in a foreign state, and one count of entering or remaining in declared areas.

Mohamed Zuhbi, 30, was arrested at Melbourne International Airport by members of the AFP International Counter Terrorism Investigations Response Team.

Australian Federal Police

“Anyone who fights with, provides material support to, or associates with terrorist groups, is committing a serious crime and will be subject to the law,” AFP Commander Counter Terrorism Operations Stephen Dametto said.

“It has been an offence since 1978 to engage in hostile activity in a foreign country, unless serving in, or with the armed forces of the government of a foreign country.

“We have a responsibility to prevent our citizens from contributing to violence and instability overseas. Our laws are aimed at discouraging Australians from fighting in overseas conflicts and endangering their lives.”

There is no current or impending threat to the community related to the operation, AFP said.

Zuhbi left Australia eight years ago and took part in the Syrian civil war, with police suspecting he was helping recruit fighters for IS.

Between 2013 and 2015 he claimed to have been working with refugees on the Turkish-Syrian border.

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