Australian urged to grab chance of martyrdom in Syria

Melbourne, Sep 28 (IANS) An Australian man standing trial for trying to travel to Syria and join the fight with jihadis was told by an alleged recruiter that he needed to hurry before his chance to obtain martyrdom disappeared, a court heard on Monday.

Melbourne based call-centre worker Amin Mohamed, 25, is charged with three counts of making preparations to travel to a foreign country and engage in hostile activities, ABC reported.

He was arrested along with Sydney-based alleged recruiter Hamdi Alqudsi in late 2013.

Prosecutor Lesley Taylor told the Victorian Supreme Court that Mohamed prepared to go and fight in Syria, booking a plane ticket to Istanbul and obtaining the name and phone number of a facilitator in Turkey from Alqudsi.

From Istanbul, it is alleged that he and a number of other men from Australian and New Zealand intended to travel to Hatay province, which borders Syria, and then to cross the border to take up arms against the regime of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

A number of other phone calls were intercepted in which Mohammed, Alqudsi and others discussed the impending trip using code such as “big job” and “big surgery” for the operation in Syria, “doctors” and “soccer players” for the other men Mohamed was supposed to travel with, “coach” for Alqudsi, “Isabelle” and “Isabella” for Istanbul, “frank” for flight and “vacuum” for airline ticket.

In late September 2013, Mohamed flew from Melbourne to Sydney, and then on to Brisbane, where he attempted to board a flight to Istanbul. He was intercepted at the airport.

On being caught, Mohamed said he was trying to travel to Denmark to meet his fiancee for the first time. He was arrested and charged in December 2013.

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