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The young faces of Islamic extremism in Australia: Somali man, 20, accused of plotting ISIS-inspired New Year's massacre 'boasted about his friendship with Curtis Cheng's 15-year-old killer'
As my good friend and colleague Christina put it yesterday"An Australian Muslim with Somalian parents". Rather, "An Australia-born Muslim with immigrant Muslim parents".
A young Somali-Australian accused of plotting an ISIS-inspired New Year's Eve attack on Melbourne was reportedly targeted by ASIO because of his links to a radicalised 15-year-old boy who killed Curtis Cheng. Ali Khalif Shire Ali was dramatically arrested on Monday and charged with trying to obtain a semi-automatic rifle to gun down revellers in Federation Square.
The 20-year-old was well-connected to Australian jihadist circles including multiple other terror suspects and extremist preacher Junaid Thorne. Ali was also friends with Farhad Jabar, 15, who shot dead NSW police accountant Curtis Cheng outside the police centre in Parramatta in 2015.
...in May 2016, Ali was one of several Muslims led by Junaid Thorne who refused to stand for a magistrate saying they 'stand for no one but Allah'. The hearing was for five men accused of trying to flee Australia by boat to fight with terrorists overseas.
According to the Daily Telegraph, Ali is also believed to be friends with the son of convicted Islamic State terrorist Abdul Nacer Benbrika, as well as having links to the friends of teen terrorist Numan Haider.
Haider was killed with a single shot to the head after pulling a knife from his jacket and started stabbing two counter-terrorist police officers in a Melbourne station.
On Tuesday, Ali was dramatically arrested by counter-terrorism police in tactical gear in front of shocked onlookers outside a restaurant on a busy Melbourne street.
Police allege Ali tried to obtain an automatic rifle to carry out the horrific act, inspired by radical Islamist propaganda produced by terrorist group al-Qaeda. The 'ISIS sympathiser' did not enter a bail when he appeared briefly in Melbourne Magistrates Court on Tuesday.
Ali, who reportedly no longer has a formal name, was described by his boss at a local computer business as 'a very quiet guy'.
'It's very sad, it's a shock,' Warsame Hassan told the Herald Sun. 'If I had (noticed suspicious behaviour) then I would have told the police.' The business has been raided and the computer Ali used has been seized by police.
It is believe they had been monitoring Ali for months, but his alleged radicalism has increased over time and police believe he was seeking out obtaining an automatic weapon.
He had recently dropped out of Swinburne University in Hawthorn, and was a regular visitor at the Virgin Mary mosque near his family home in Melbourne's west. Members of the mosque described Ali's family as good members of the community.
The practising Muslim was born in Australia, is an Australian citizen and his parents were from Somalia, Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton said on Tuesday. 'The male is one of our high-risk persons of interest. We have been monitoring him for a very lengthy period of time,' he told reporters on Tuesday.