Australian police have arrested an electrician who was allegedly assisting the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) in developing missile systems for use in Syria and Iraq.
More than 20 police officers raided the property of Haisem Zahab, 42, in the small town of Young in New South Wales Tuesday, Australian television station Nine News reported.
Australian authorities alleged that Zahab, who is thought to have three small children, was involved in researching and designing a laser warning system that could detect incoming munitions used against ISIS in the Middle East.
Police also accused Zahab, who worked for a local solar panel installation business, of aiding the radical Islamist group with modeling systems that could be used to develop a long-range guided missile.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said that Zahab was not planning an attack on Australian soil.
“This highlights that terrorism, support for terrorist groups, and Islamist extremism is not limited to our major cities,” said Turnbull.
Australia's Justice Minister Michael Keenan (L-R), Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Australian Federal Police Commissioner Andrew Colvin speak during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, on February 28, on a police raid on what they say was a bomb-making site in the town of Young. The suspect is accused of helping ISIS develop long-range missiles for use in Iraq and Syria. AAP/Lukas Coch/via Reuters
Australian police have thwarted several domestic attacks allegedly planned by ISIS and up to 255 Australians may have traveled to Iraq and Syria to join militant groups, according to security consultancy The Soufan Group.
Police scoured Zahab’s property with dogs and metal detectors following his arrest.
“This is a very technical offense and this gentleman is quite technically minded so we will be doing a complete, thorough forensic examination of that property,” said Australian Federal Police Commissioner Andrew Colvin, according to the BBC.
Authorities have charged Zahab with two counts of preparations for incursions into foreign countries for purpose of engaging in hostile activities. The charges carry a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. Zahab did not apply for bail and has been remanded in custody.Try Newsweek: Subscription offers