Skip to comments.Medical student in Sydney attended Lashkar camp in Pakistan
Posted on 06/12/2004 2:51:52 AM PDT by Qaz_W
CANBERRA: The first arrest made under Australia's new anti-terrorism laws, in fact the first Australian since 1978 to be charged with terrorism is a Pakistan-born medical student who allegedly attended a three-week training camp organised by the Lashkar-e-Toiba in Pakistan in January last year.
Sydney resident Izhar Ul-Haque was arrested by the Australian Federal Police on April 15 and although he was released on bail on May 27, he is said to be under close observation.
His lawyer has denied he was a terrorist but admitted that Ul-Haque was sympathetic to the Kashmir cause''.
Ul-Haque is said to have claimed that he left the Lashkar camp abruptly because he realised he wanted to be a doctor, not a martyr''. Authorities are not quite convinced.
As an Australian intelligence source put it, This could be classic sleeper strategy. They could have told him: `Go back and become a doctor, immerse yourself in their system' ... Only to activate him later.''
There is a tricky technicality to this case. Laskhar was outlawed by the Australian government only last November. Strictly speaking,'' said an Australian official, at the time he was training with the group, it was not banned in this country.
Ul-Haque's arrest led to a spate of similar measures in the Sydney area. About half a dozen people have been arrested in the past two weeks. In this period, Jack Roche, an Australian convert to Islam, has also been convicted of plotting to blow up the Israeli embassy in Canberra.
Ever since the Bali bombings in October 2002, Australian counter-terrorism efforts have been focused on Al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), the Indonesia-centred jihadi Army whose footprint extends across southeast Asia.
Ul-Haque is said to have been recruited for Lashkar by Faheem Khalid Lodhi, a Sydney man charged with seven terrorist offences and currently in a high security prison. Lodhi is accused of masterminding attempts to bomb a series of Sydney targets.
Lodhi's principal co-conspirator, the police say, was Willy Brigitte, a suspected terrorist deported to France from Australia in October 2003. Now in a Paris prison, Brigitte apparently told French interrogators that he, too, trained at a Lashkar camp in Pakistan.
Brigitte further provided names of Sydney-based Lashkar operatives - including at least three of Pakistani origin, one of Bangladeshi origin and one of Lebanese origin. One of these was ul-Haque.
Interestingly, David Hicks - arrested fighting for the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001, and one of two Australians being held by the Americans at their Guantanamo Bay facility in Cuba - is ``also thought to have trained with Lashkar'', according to Australian newspaper reports.
Speaking to this websites newspaper, a senior Australian counter-terrorism official said, We are detecting signs of Lashkar showing interest in southeast Asia. We are concerned by the links Lashkar may be establishing with JI. For instance, we know of a JI cell in Karachi.''
Wonder what he would have to say in this case where one of his former countrymen, privileged enough to make it into a Med school in his adopted land ( Australia ), felt it necessary to travel back to the land of his birth ( Pakistan ) for terrorist training.
Perhaps the Islamicists march to a significantly higher standard of what constitutes, political injustice, denial and deprivation.
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