Trio jailed over Australia Christmas terror plot

Three men have been jailed for plotting a large-scale terror attack in busy areas of central Melbourne, Australia.

The men, inspired by Islamic State (IS), had aimed to use machetes and explosives to maximise casualties during the Christmas period in 2016.

It was one of the most substantial terror threats to Australia in recent years, the government said at the time.

A court jailed Abdullah Chaarani and Ahmed Mohamed for 38 years. Hamza Abbas was jailed for 22 years.

The men, all aged in their 20s, were convicted last year after admitting to their crimes.

“[The plot was] an assault on the fundamental values our society,” said Justice Christopher Beake in Victoria’s Supreme Court on Friday.

A fourth man, Ibrahim Abbas, was jailed for 24 years last year for his role as ringleader of the group.

What had been planned?

Prosecutors said the men had aimed to target Federation Square, Flinders Street Station, and other landmarks in the city centre.

They had planned to kill people using machetes, guns and improvised explosive vests. Police foiled the plot after intercepting the group’s text messages and emails.

Mohamed later told the court he thought a bombing attack would be “cool”.

He and Chaarani testified they had become radicalised after watching IS videos online, saying they had since denounced the group. The pair will serve 28 years before they are eligible for parole.

Hamza Abbas’s lawyers argued that he had “intellectual limitations” and had not grasped the extent of his brother Ibrahim Abbas’s plans. He was given a 16-year non-parole period.

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