Alleged terror leader plotted attack on Mardi Gras, court hears

hamdi alqudsi sydney terrorist group mardi gras attack supreme court
Image: 7News

A Sydney man accused of leading a terrorist group planned an attack on the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras among other targets, a court has heard.

Hamdi Alqudsi (pictured) appeared before the Supreme Court of New South Wales on Monday (July 18).

He’s charged with intentionally directing a terrorist organisation and fostering the planning of terrorist acts, News Corp reported.

Alqudsi allegedly formed the Shura – “consultation council” in Arabic – in 2013.

The Shura planned to send members to Syria and “fight against the Commonwealth”, crown prosecutor Patricia McDonald SC alleged.

But after police action disrupted those plans, the group allegedly turned their attention to “domestic terrorist activity”, McDonald said.

“The crown case is that initial activities of the Shura were disrupted by police through cancellations of passports, the exercise of arrests and search warrants,” she said.

“Once they were frustrated in their initial focus, what occurred over time was refocusing and a focusing on performing, fostering domestic terrorist acts.”

Hamdi Alqudsi allegedly planned Mardi Gras, embassy attacks

The group allegedly planned to attack several different locations. Prosecutors have claimed they included the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, as well as other Sydney tourist locations.

Other targets allegedly were the Sydney Israeli embassy and a Woolloomooloo naval base.

The prosecutor told the jury that the crown’s evidence includes correspondence “setting out some of the proposed details” about the alleged planned navy base attack as well as firsthand accounts from several members.

Police charged Alqudsi with intentionally directing the activities of the Shura as a terrorist group from August 30 to December 31, 2014.

He’s accused of fostering the planning of terrorist acts, while knowing that the Shura was a terrorist organisation. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Prosecutors allege Alqudsi referred to himself as “the commander” of the group, and held meetings at his homes. He allegedly asked members to give a “pledge of allegiance” to Islamic State.

From July 2013, police targeted the alleged terror group using phone intercepts, surveillance devices, and surveillance teams.

As authorities confiscated the passports of various Shura members in late 2013, the court heard Alqudsi sought $50,000 to travel to Syria.

But his passport was confiscated at Sydney International Airport at the end of September 2013.

The trial in the NSW Supreme Court continues.

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