SYDNEY (AFP) – Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott Thursday urged tighter screening of migrants after police thwarted an alleged terror attack, while vowing that “ugly fanaticism” will be defeated.
Two men were arrested on Tuesday after police seized an Islamic State flag, a machete and an Arabic-language video detailing the apparent plot during a raid in Sydney.
Omar Al-Kutobi, 24, and Mohammad Kiad, 25, were charged with making preparations for a terrorist act. Their case was briefly mentioned in court Thursday and adjourned until March 16.
One of the men is suspected of entering Australia with fake documents in 2009, with the immigration department ordering an urgent review.
The revelation comes after it emerged that the Iranian-born man who carried out a cafe siege in Sydney in December, self-styled cleric Man Haron Monis, was granted a visa in 1996 despite Tehran’s warnings about his criminal past.
Abbott said authorities must be extra careful in screening those seeking residency.
“We need to be conscious of our border security, what it says is that we need to be much more careful about giving people the benefit of the doubt,” he said.
“If you look at the Martin Place murderer (Monis), he had been given the benefit of the doubt at every stage by our system. I suspect the same will turn out to be the case with these people.”