Brisbane: A man was jailed for 17 years today for plotting a terrorist attack in Australia after being prevented from travelling to Syria, with the judge saying he continued to hold extremist views.
Agim Kruezi, 25, was arrested in 2014 and pleaded guilty in the Brisbane Supreme Court to one count each of preparing for terrorist acts and planning a foreign incursion.
The court heard Kruezi, reportedly an Australian-born Albanian, planned to travel to Syria to fight with an Al-Qaeda-affiliated group but was stopped by customs officers and his passport was cancelled.
He instead turned his attention to an attack on home soil.
Broadcaster ABC said police found a loaded semi-automatic sawn-off rifle, two balaclavas, two machetes, a photocopy of a book titled Jihad, and an Islamic State flag pinned to his bedroom wall when he was arrested.
Instructions to carry out beheadings were also discovered on his computer and in the days before his arrest, he purchased 10 litres (2.6 US gallons) of petrol and attempted to buy glass bottles suitable to make molotov cocktails, it added. Justice Roslyn Atkinson said it was necessary for counter-terrorism police to arrest him when they did to prevent a "public attack".
"If not imminent, it was at least planned to the point you had obtained weapons," she said, according to Brisbane's Courier Mail.
"There seems little doubt... that you intended to carry out the terror plot, albeit the precise details were yet to crystallise." She added that "there is no evidence that you have changed your (extremist) views".
Canberra has been increasingly concerned by homegrown extremism and citizens fighting with jihadist organisations abroad such as Islamic State. The country introduced sweeping counter-terrorism laws in 2014 that include blocking alleged jihadists from going overseas.
Authorities say they have prevented 14 terror attacks in recent years. Several others have occurred, including the 2014 siege of a central Sydney cafe in which two hostages were killed.