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Cassandra Sainsbury: Accused cocaine smuggler


So many questions on this one folks. I waited and hung back a few days to see what else was revealed to the public. Shame the way is being trickled out…

Not to sell papers or anything surely?

I personally feel she has been busted red handed and used a well-drilled script when caught.

Shame the family in OZ was NOT aware of it and spilled their guts as a family would do. Not smart though…Cheers Robbo

Please Make comment


ACCUSED Australian drug smuggler Cassie Sainsbury posted a series of cryptic social media comments in the lead-up to her ill-fated world trip, which culminated in her arrest at Colombia’s biggest airport last month.

It has already been reported that the 22-year-old Adelaide woman made a series of international

trips to and from Australia in the six months preceding her journey to South America, where authorities allegedly found almost 6kg of cocaine inside her suitcase on April 11.

But early this year an opportunity apparently arose that seemed too good for the former personal trainer to pass up.

In a strangely prophetic Instagram post, Ms Sainsbury appears to have been counting down the days until a life-changing event.

The now deleted January 10 post read: “50 days until I make the biggest move I’ve yet to do … 50 days until everything changes.”

She added the following hashtags: #newbeginnings #newyearnewme #2k17 #dreamjob #bondiliving #life #change #love #50daysleft #goodthingsarecoming.

On January 24, she wrote another post, which has also since been deleted, which read: “Moving interstate driving me cray cray! #save me! Not long before the big move now, super excited and can’t wait to leave so much baggage behind.”

Cassie Sainsbury pictured following her arrest at El Dorado International Airport on April 11. Picture: Supplied Source:AFP

Cassandra Sainsbury Instagram images. cassieleigh_p_t Source:Instagram

 

It is not clear when Ms Sainsbury departed from Australia or from which port but both Instagram posts contain hashtags indicating travel or relocation to Sydney, possibly around March 1 (when the 50 day count down ended).

Her social media trail places her in China later that month and in the US in early April.

On April 3, Ms Sainsbury instagrammed from Los Angeles airport, complaining about the temperature contrast between the two countries: “LAX — so busy yet, so organised. On another note. Going from China’s lovely 27 degree weather to LA’s 7 degree weather is killing me!”

She appears to have caught a connecting flight to Bogota from LA because authorities record her as having arrived in Colombia on the same day — April 3.

On April 8, she posted a photograph from Bogota along with the comment: “Can’t complain about an all expenses paid work trip, in which (sic) is mainly holiday very little work. It’s the simple things that are the true beauty in the world. Mother Nature has been putting on quite the show for me over here.”

This Jan 24 post mentions a move interstate.Source: Supplied

Cassie’s cryptic but prophetic January 10 Instagram post.Source: Supplied

 

Ms Sainsbury’s family has claimed she was on a working holiday to promote her personal training business — a claim which appears to be supported by Ms Sainsbury’s Instagram posts which are riddled with fitness-related hashtags.

But her fiance Scotty Broadbridge has told a completely different story, claiming she hadn’t done any personal training work for months and that her most recent job involved “helping to manage” a cleaning company.

“Although Cassie is a PT, she is not currently personal training and hasn’t been for 6 months. I don’t know why that was mentioned at all,” Mr Broadbridge wrote on Ms Sainsbury’s fundraising page before it was deactivated on Monday night after raising more than $4000.

“She helped manage a commercial cleaning business that had both national and international clients. Unfortunately it’s very easy for tourists to get targeted, especially in Colombia.”

Ms Sainsbury’s April 3 post from LAX.Source: Supplied

 

Ms Sainsbury’s April 3 post from LAX.Source:Supplied

 

Mr Broadbridge’s sister Jasmin also defended Ms Sainsbury on social media.

“We’re all supposed to unite in times like this but I’ve been reading the most hateful and negative comments that people have been writing about someone who is a total stranger to them,” she wrote on Facebook.

“You can assume what you want, but Cassie is a beautiful and strong person and everyone who knows her, even just a little bit, knows that there is absolutely no way she is guilty.”

Ms Sainsbury was moments from arriving at Gate 32 at Colombia’s El Dorado International Airport when narcotics police swooped on a tip-off from the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

Her luggage tags show she had successfully checked in to board Flight AV120 from Bogota to London’s Heathrow Airport, flying with Avianca Airways, Colombia’s national airline since 1919.

Cassie Sainsbury, 22, and her fiancee Scotty Broadbridge. Picture: Facebook Source: Facebook

 

Police allegedly found 5.8kg of cocaine wrapped in black plastic and stuffed into 15 boxes of headphones that she claimed to have bought on the cheap from a man she befriended who had been acting as her translator in the Colombian capital.

Ms Sainsbury told her mother Lisa Evans that she packed the headphones into her suitcase without checking them and had no knowledge of the hidden contraband.

“I can’t believe this has happened to an innocent young woman,” her grandmother Barbara Johns said.

“Anyone who knows Cassie, knows she did not do this. It can happen to anyone.”

Ms Sainsbury is currently awaiting trial in Bogota’s most notorious women’s prison, El Buen Pastor (which means “The Good Shepherd”), on drug trafficking charges and faces up to 25 years if convicted.

However that sentence is likely to be reduced to six years if she pleads guilty and four years if she agrees to identify others involved. The latter option puts Ms Sainsbury between a rock and a hard place, given that spilling the beans on alleged drug syndicate members could see her labelled a snitch, thereby endangering her life inside jail.

Accused drug mule’s fiance and lawyer address the media

Cassie Sainsbury’s fiance Scott Boradbridge says he will support the accused Adelaide drug mule

THE fiance of accused Adelaide drug mule Cassie Sainsbury has told a packed media conference he believes she is innocent and had no involvement with the drug trade.

Speaking at a press conference on Friday, Scott Broadbridge said he had “no doubt that Cassie is innocent of these charges and I will support her no matter how long this takes”.

But her Adelaide lawyer, Steven Kenny, who was hired by Ms Sainsbury in a phone call, said her court date could be two to three years away if her case went to trial.

“It won’t be speedy, that’s the advice I’ve had from Colombia,” he said.

Mr Broadbridge, who kept his head down as he read from a prepared statement, said he and “Cass” were engaged and he intended to marry her.

“I know that there are many unanswered questions in this case and I intend to work with the lawyers to get to the bottom of them,” he said.

Calling her “the delight of his life” he said he knew she was not a drug smuggler.

“I know that she is not involved in the drug trade, I know that she was not deliberately taking drugs or carrying drugs anywhere,” he said.

Mr Kenny, who defended former detainee David Hicks and was the first lawyer to visit Guantánamo Bay, said he had great faith in the Colombian legal system, which carried the presumption of innocence, and he asked the media to not prejudge his new client’s guilt or innocence.

“I would like to think Cassie’s defence will be run in a court in Colombia, not in the Adelaide media,” he said.

Scott Broadbridge, fiance of Cassie Sainsbury, with Adelaide lawyer Steven Kenny. Picture: Greg Higgs

Mr Broadbridge said he hoped to fly to Colombia to visit her soon, and to prove her innocence.

Mr Kenny could not answer questions about which cleaning company Ms Sainsbury worked for, who bought her ticket out of Colombia in Hong Kong or how long she had been travelling, and said detailed questions such as this would be followed up through her Colombian legal team.

He said the first thing he could do from Adelaide was to make sure she had good defence in Colombia. Mr Kenny accepted the job pro bono because he had legal friends in Colombia and felt he could help.

“We are working with them and taking what we think are appropriate steps,” he said.

The aspiring model and fitness trainer was arrested at an airport in Colombia with 5.8kg of cocaine in her luggage. Despite the evidence against her, Mr Broadbridge said he loved her and believed in her and was doing everything to try to get her out.

Ingrid Hernandes, Bogota hotel manager discusses Cassandra Sainsbury stay

Ms Sainsbury, 22, is being held in Bogota’s El Buen Pastor women’s jail after she was busted with the cocaine — which was hidden inside packages of headphones — in her luggage as she was about to fly out of Colombia.

Mr Broadbridge said that despite the collapse of her gym, personal trainer Ms Sainsbury was debt-free when she jetted overseas on the ill-fated trip.

“There absolutely were no debts. She ran a business and it didn’t work out. She’s just an ordinary girl with aspirations,” he said.

“I’m just scared for her and don’t want to jeopardise anything as it’s early stages. We’re worried for her future, she’s not doing great.”

But his decision to “break his silence” drew criticism from members of Ms Sainsbury’s family, who have been told not to comment by her Colombian lawyer. Mr Kenny said some of the reporting in the media could damage Ms Sainsbury’s case and that he and Mr Broadbridge were having discussions with Ms Sainbury’s family.

Mr Kenny said he was asked by Ms Sainsbury in a brief phone call to act for her and he had no argument with Sydney lawyer, Jay Williams, who had until now been her only Australian lawyer.

“Jay is a barrister, he’s not a solicitor, and he is not in Adelaide which I think is why Scott came to see me,” he said.

Asked about her state of mind, he said it was a short call but that Ms Sainsbury was “a young woman in a foreign jail, in a foreign country, you can draw your own conclusions from that.”

She was being visited regularly by Australian consular officials who were reporting back to the family on her welfare.

Cassie Sainsbury with the 5.8kg of cocaine she is accused of smuggling out of Columbia. Photo: Columbia Antinarcotics Police.

Sister Khala Sainsbury said the truth would come out soon.

“It has gone too far,” she said of rumours coming out of Yorketown, on Yorke Peninsula.

The allegations first emerged when a woman, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Advertiser Ms Sainsbury left the Yorke Peninsula owing several people money.

Others have backed the claims.

But the landlord of the Yorketown gym previously used by Ms Sainsbury, and the father of her ex-boyfriend, say she had no debts with them.

On Thursday, Nick Paphitis said Ms Sainsbury had paid all her rent before she moved to Adelaide.

Claims she owed ex-boyfriend Luke Tape money borrowed to help set up Yorke’s Gym were rejected by his father, Richard.

Cassie Sainsbury: What we know so far

 

It comes as her Bogota lawyer Orlando Herran said Australian diplomats were trying to convince Colombian authorities to let Ms Sainsbury serve her almost certain jail sentence at home.

She is being advised to accept the charges against her in order to reduce her sentence after she was caught with the drugs.

Mr Herran said diplomats were working on a deal that would see her move from El Buen Pastor women’s jail to one in Australia, but only after a conviction was recorded.

Ms Sainsbury posted a series of cryptic social media comments in the lead-up to her ill-fated world trip, which culminated in her arrest at Colombia’s biggest airport last month.

It has already been reported that the Adelaide woman made a series of international trips to and from Australia in the six months preceding her journey to South America.

But early this year, an opportunity apparently arose that seemed too good for the former personal trainer to pass up.

Cassandra Sainsbury with her fiance Scott Broadbridge. Picture: Facebook

In a strangely prophetic Instagram post, Ms Sainsbury appears to have been counting down the days until a life-changing event.

The now deleted January 10 post read: “50 days until I make the biggest move I’ve yet to do … 50 days until everything changes.”

She added the following hashtags: #newbeginnings #newyearnewme #2k17 #dreamjob #bondiliving #life #change #love #50daysleft #goodthingsarecoming.

On January 24, she wrote another post, which has also since been deleted, which read: “Moving interstate driving me cray cray! #save me! Not long before the big move now, super excited and can’t wait to leave so much baggage behind.”

Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop said Australian consular staff were continuing to provide assistance to Ms Sainsbury, but did not have an embassy in Bogota and the assistance was being organised “from outside Colombia”.

update

How Cassandra Sainsbury’s ticket reportedly got her caught

Cassandra Sainsbury’s father wants his daughter to come home
Charis Chang and Sarah Blake in Bogota

THE father of accused Aussie drug smuggler Cassandra Sainsbury has broken his silence, three weeks after his daughter landed in a Colombian prison.

 

Stuart Sainsbury told Nine News he is standing by the 22-year-old because “a father’s love is unconditional and never stops, regardless of what happens”.

He said he does not believe she is “a drug mule”.

“I don’t believe she was a drug mule, she’s just my kid. What parent thinks their kid is a drug mule? I just love her and I can’t change what’s happened. I just have to be here when she comes home.”

Earlier, he told reporters “I don’t want to be tied up in all this,” the Mail Online reported.

“Listen, whatever is going on has nothing to do with me, and I have nothing to say about it,” he said from his home in Yorketown, South Australia.

“You can ring my lawyer if you don’t understand me. It’s got nothing to do with me.”

He told the Adelaide Advertiser that his “love doesn’t change no matter what (your children) do” and said no Australian officials had been in touch with him.

The comments follow revelations that Cassie was caught because the US Drug Enforcement Agency alerted Colombian authorities to their suspicions about her plane ticket, reports suggest.

Ms Sainsbury, 22, was arrested at El Dorado International Airport in Bogota on April 12 after a tip-off about the 5.8kg of cocaine allegedly hidden inside what she thought were 18 boxes of headphones in her suitcase.

The South Australian is now being held in a women’s jail in Colombia and is reportedly struggling to adjust to her new life inside prison.

An American woman who walked free from El Buen Pastor prison on Tuesday after serving a 17 month sentence, told Newscorp she had helped support Cassie, along with another woman inside the jail.

“Because she is so young there are a lot of people trying to take advantage of her,” said the woman, who did not wish to be named.

Stuart Sainsbury, the father of accused Aussie drug smuggler, Cassandra. Picture: FacebookSource:Facebook

“Not only that, when she was at the police station they took most of her stuff — all of her clothes, her money.”

The woman said Cassie was receiving some support from Australian consular staff but was told she would only receive a visit every few months.

“She’s just wearing a sweater and pants and a top, the same ones. I offered her something but she said no thank you.”

Meanwhile it has emerged that Ms Sainsbury may have been arrested after a tip-off from US authorities.

“We found her because of an alert from the DEA (US Drug Enforcement Agency),” Bogota airport’s narcotics chief, Commander Rodrigo Soler, told News Corp Australia Network.

He said she had cleared security, checked her bag and was minutes away from boarding her flight when the alert came up.

“The alert said check this person so we pulled her aside and we searched her luggage and we arrested her. We asked ‘is this your bag, did you pack this?’. She said ‘yes’.”

Soler told The Australian Ms Sainsbury’s ticket, which was bought at the last minute by an unknown party in Hong Kong for a trip from Australia to Bogota via London, was one of several red flags that caused North American agencies to alert Colombian police.

The Adelaide woman’s family insists she is innocent and was set up by a Colombian man she met after arriving in the South American country on April 3 during a working holiday.

They say she bought the headphones from him to give as gifts to family and friends at her upcoming wedding.

A photo released by Colombia's National Police press shows Australian Cassandra Sainsbury in handcuffs after she was arrested at the international airport in Bogota, Colombia. Picture: Colombia's National Police via AP

A photo released by Colombia’s National Police press shows Australian Cassandra Sainsbury in handcuffs after she was arrested at the international airport in Bogota, Colombia. Picture: Colombia’s National Police via APSource:AP

An expert on the South American drug trade says there was no way the former fitness trainer would have the connections to sell almost $2 million worth of cocaine, and someone must have been waiting to receive it in Australia.

Rusty Young, wrote the book Marching Powder and is about to release a book Colombiano after living in Colombia for eight years. He said the South Australian woman’s story didn’t add up.

“Her version of events is not consistent with the way drug rings operate,” Mr Young told news.com.au yesterday.

“If you were planting $1 million worth of drugs in someone’s baggage, how were you intending to recover the drugs back in Australia?”

Ms Sainsbury’s sister Khala posted on a fundraising page that the 22-year-old was detained for drug trafficking at the airport in Bogota “waiting to depart back to Australia”. But it’s since been reported that Cassie may have intended to continue on her working holiday to make presentations in London, France and Hong Kong.

Her sister said she was not due back in Australia until Easter Saturday, April 15.

It’s unclear where the drugs were ultimately headed but Mr Young believes if they were being shipped to Australia, someone would have been waiting for them to come in.

“There’s no way a 22-year-old could have the connections to distribute and sell almost 6kg of cocaine,” he said.

“There must have been someone in Australia to receive those drugs.”

Mr Young also dismissed fears that Ms Sainsbury could be targeted by cartels while imprisoned in Colombia.

“That’s absolute nonsense,” he said. “Cartels don’t run drug mules through airports, they run tonnes of cocaine. There’s no professional Colombian organisation behind this.”

Despite concerns about Ms Sainsbury’s safety, Mr Young said he thought she would be physically safe in the overcrowded El Buen Pastor women’s jail.

“They would have put her in the foreign section with foreign inmates,” he said.

Australian diplomatic staff have also reportedly delivered her a mattress and blanket to use in her cell.

Mr Young said he also thought Ms Sainsbury would get a fair trial in Colombia, although justice would be slow.

Even if she plead guilty, Mr Young said it would probably still take six to nine months for her to go through the justice system. A trial would probably take three years just to reach a verdict and would cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Mr Young said his thoughts were with Ms Sainsbury and her family.

“They are in for a long and difficult journey,” he said.

A handout photo made available by the press office of the Colombian Anti-narcotics Police, on 01 May 2017 shows Australian citizen Cassandra Sainsbury during her detention with 5.8 kilos of cocaine at the International Airport the Dorado, in Bogota, Colombia, on 11 April 2017. Picture: EPA/Col Anti-narcotics Police

A handout photo made available by the press office of the Colombian Anti-narcotics Police, on 01 May 2017 shows Australian citizen Cassandra Sainsbury during her detention with 5.8 kilos of cocaine at the International Airport the Dorado, in Bogota, Colombia, on 11 April 2017. Picture: EPA/Col Anti-narcotics PoliceSource:AAP

Ms Sainsbury’s family has previously said the 22-year-old travelled to Colombia on April 3 for a working holiday. It’s unclear what visa she was travelling on and what job she was doing overseas.

There is no working holiday maker visa arrangement between Australia and Colombia, and working visas require Australians to prove they have a skill set Colombians don’t possess.

“The most common work visa would be for English teachers,” Mr Young said.

But Australians can enter Colombia for 90 days as a visitor without a visa.

It has also emerged that Ms Sainsbury was reportedly arrested following a tip-off from international drug agencies and her travel plans had raised suspicions, anti narco trafficking control, Colonel Rodrigo Soler, told The Australian.

The South Australian was arrested minutes before she was due to fly back to Australia from El Dorado International Airport in Bogota.

Colombian police have released a photo of the young Aussie in handcuffs standing in front of a table lined with 18 packages, which Ms Sainsbury thought were headphones she bought as wedding gifts and presents for her friends and family.

Jorge Mendoza, the ports and airports director for Colombia’s anti-narcotic police, says he doubted Ms Sainsbury didn’t know the drugs were hidden inside the packages.

“She could possibly be a drug mule,” Mendoza told ABC radio through an interpreter on Tuesday.

“In going through security we found she had 18 packets inside her luggage, which even before opening it we found covered in plastic.

“Her explanation is not credible. Everyone we catch says they didn’t know it was in their luggage.”

Lieutenant Colonel Jorge Triana, head of the anti-narcotics police at Bogota’s international airport was also sceptical about the Australian’s innocence.

He said Ms Sainsbury’s claims that she was deceived are probably untrue and in any case don’t excuse her actions.

“Everyone who is caught says exactly the same thing,” said Lt Colonel Triana, who added that many foreigners are lured by false promises of fast fortunes.”

As tourism to Colombia has boomed over the past decade, the country’s drug cartels are increasingly recruiting foreigners to smuggle cocaine out of the country. Police have arrested 19 foreign drug mules this year alone, Lt Colonel Triana said.

The Adelaide woman’s family insists she is innocent and was set up by a Colombian man she met after arriving in the South American country on April 3 during a working holiday.

But public comments made by her family about her case may have unwittingly put the 22-year-old in danger, The Australian has reported.

Senior Australian lawyers familiar with the case told the paper that if the cartels found out what Ms Sainsbury’s mother had been saying, she could be in danger inside the notorious El Buen Pastor jail where she is being held.

El Buen Pastor prison for women in Bogota, Colombia. Source: Roger Triana

El Buen Pastor prison for women in Bogota, Colombia. Source: Roger TrianaSource:Supplied

El Buen Pastor is Bogota’s biggest women’s prison, and inmates live in overcrowded and filthy conditions alongside violent criminals, their children and babies and corrupt guards who steal food brought to prisoners by their families.

On Monday, Ms Sainsbury’s mother Lisa Evans told KIIS that her daughter was facing a potential jail sentence of between 18 to 25 years, but if she pleaded guilty this would be reduced.

She said the minimum sentence was six years but this could be reduced to four if Ms Sainsbury provided information about the man who gave her the drugs.

Ms Evans said Cassie had trusted the man who gave her the drugs, and he had been acting as her translator in Colombia.

“He had been helping her all week, taking her around and showing her places, and just being a nice guy,” Ms Evans said.

It is understood lawyers in Australia have now advised the family not to make any further public comments and to take down an online fundraising campaign on FundRazr.

The campaign has raised more than $4000 for Ms Sainsbury and remains active, although many of the posts express scepticism about Cassie’s story.

Cassandra Sainsbury was arrested on drug charges in Colombia.

Cassandra Sainsbury was arrested on drug charges in Colombia.Source:Instagram

Colombia is the world’s largest producer of cocaine and its police among the best-trained to detect and stop drug smuggling thanks in part to billions of dollars in US anti-narcotics aid that has strengthened law enforcement.

— With AP/AAP


Cassie Sainsbury Faces Up To 25 Years For 5.8kg Cocaine Haul

The Adelaide personal trainer says she was set up by a man she had just met.

01/05/2017 10:22 AM AEST | Updated 01/05/2017 2:30 PM AEST

GoFundMe

An Adelaide based personal trainer and volunteer firefighter is facing up to 25 years in a Colombian prison after 5.8 kilograms of cocaine was found in her suitcase.

Cassandra Sainsbury was arrested for drug trafficking offences at El Dorado International Airport in Bogotá when she went to catch her flight back to Australia following an eight-day working holiday in Colombia on April 11.

But her family say she is “naive” and had been set up by a man she had met who gave her what she believed was a package of headphones.

Sainsbury’s sister, Khala, told the media that a man she met while travelling offered to bulk buy the headphones cheaply for her, which she wanted as gifts for her bridal party at her upcoming wedding to fiance Scott Broadbridge.

Anyone that knows her would say she is a kind, loving, happy kind of girl.”

“Cassie, being young, said she’d do it. And it came to her already packaged and sealed so she put it straight in her suitcase not thinking,” Khala said. “She’s very naive.”

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed to HuffPost Australia that they are assisting an Australian woman arrested in Colombia, but declined to give further details “due to our privacy obligations”.

Colombia is the world’s largest cocaine producer, providing more than half of the world’s illicit supply — 487 tons annually. Profits from the drug amount to around 1 per cent of the nation’s GDP and provide livelihoods for around 65,000 farming families in remote areas, according to UN estimates.

But the Government has cracked down on the drug trade in recent years in an attempt to clean up its image, with heavy penalties for those caught trafficking. The maximum penalty for trafficking cocaine is 25 years.

The Adelaide woman’s mother, Lisa Evans, told KIIS FM that Sainsbury is innocent, but is considering pleading guilty to reduce her sentence.

Facebook
Cassie Sainsbury with her fiance and “love of her life” Scott Broadbridge. The couple were preparing to wed early next year.

“If she pleads guilty the minimum is six years,” Evans said.

“If Cassie gives information about the person that gave her the package it may come down to four.”

Evans reportedly told Channel Nine’s Today Show she could not believe someone could do this to her daughter.

“Cassie is just, ‘I didn’t do it mum, you have got to get me out’ and crying hysterically,” Evans said.

Sainsbury has been denied bail and is currently in the notorious El Buen Pastor women’s prison, where she is sharing a cell with up to 250 women in squalid conditions. She is due to face trial in two months’ time, her family says.

The 22-year-old’s sister has set up a fundraising page to raise money towards Cassie’s legal costs.

“Cassie would never do anything like what she has been accused off,” Khala wrote on the page.

“Anyone that knows her would say she is a kind, loving, happy kind of girl. She would help anyone out in need.”

But the page has drawn criticism from some posters, who accused the family “begging” for money

After four days, the campaign had only raised $2,610 towards its $15,000 goal.


Cassandra Sainsbury: Accused cocaine smuggler ‘would have known drugs were in her bag’

03/05/17

An Australian woman used unsophisticated methods to try to conceal 18 packets of cocaine in her luggage and her family’s claims she was set up are not believable, Colombian drug authorities say.

Key points:

  • Colombian drug police say Australian woman would have known the drugs were in the bag
  • Cocaine in headphones “not really a very sophisticated mode of concealment”
  • Cassandra Sainsbury faces up to 20 years in jail

Adelaide’s Cassandra Sainsbury, 22, was arrested minutes before boarding a flight at Bogota’s El Dorado International Airport with 5.8 kilograms of cocaine wrapped in plastics bags and packed within boxes of headphones.

Family of the former personal trainer said she was an unwitting drug mule and the headphones were bought as gifts for bridal party guests.

Colonel Jorge Mendoza, the head of ports and airports for the Colombian drug enforcement police department, dismissed the family’s version of events, saying she would have known the narcotics were in her bags.

“There was not really a very sophisticated mode of concealment,” he said.

“The drugs were wrapped in bags, 18 packets as I said previously, inside her suitcase.

“So, it is difficult to say that she did not know that the substance was inside her suitcase.”

Ms Sainsbury’s sister Khala said the 22-year-old was in Colombia for a working holiday and the headphones were purchased from a contact.

Colonel Mendoza has previously said the arrest came as the result of a tip-off and was indistinguishable from a growing number of drug cases involving foreigners.

Colonel Mendoza has said he was confident the seizure would lead to jail time and depending on the quality of the drugs, the maximum penalty could be 20 years’ imprisonment.

A Colombian lawyer advised the family she plead guilty to reduce the sentence to a possible six years.

Ms Sainsbury’s family has raised thousands of dollars online to fund her legal defence and support her.

Ms Sainsbury has been transferred to the Colombian capital’s notorious El Buen Pastor women’s prison.

Joanna Adams, the daughter of a lawyer who has given legal advice to Ms Sainsbury, has told the ABC’s AM program her father said the Australian “has her up and downs”.

“Some days she’s good and some days she’s very bad,” Ms Adams said.

The 22-year-old was preparing to board a flight to London on her way back to Australia when she was arrested.

AP/ABC


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39 dead in New Year ‘terror attack’ on Istanbul nightclub Reina


January 1 2017 – 9:06PM

Istanbul, Turkey nightclub attack: more than a dozen foreigners among the dead, say officials

Istanbul:  Police in Istanbul launched a manhunt on Sunday for a gunman who killed at least 39 people, many of them foreigners, at a nightclub packed with New Year’s revellers, in an attack officials described as a terrorist act.

The gunman shot his way into the Reina nightclub at around 1.15am local time, just over an hour into the new year, killing a police officer and a civilian as he entered before opening fire at random inside

Some witnesses spoke of multiple attackers, but officials have not confirmed this.

 

“A manhunt for the terrorist is underway. Police have launched operations. We hope the attacker will be captured soon,” he told reporters.

Turkey has imposed a media blackout after the attack, although the restriction doesn’t extend to officials, BBC reported.

Australian embassy officials are working with Turkish authorities to determine if any Australians are victims of the nightclub attack.

 

 

The nightclub, one of Istanbul’s most iconic that is popular with locals and foreigners alike, overlooks the Bosphorus Strait separating Europe and Asia in the city’s cosmopolitan Ortakoy district.

Istanbul Governor Vasip Sahin said the attacker had used a “long-range weapon” to “brutally and savagely” fire on people, apparently referring to some sort of assault rifle.

“One person first kills the police officer outside, and then a civilian,” the governor said. “Inside he rained bullets brutally, mercilessly over innocent people who were there just to celebrate the new year and have fun.”

 

People talk to medics in an ambulance near the scene of an attack in Istanbul. Photo: APThe Hurriyet newspaper cited witnesses as saying there were multiple attackers and that they shouted in Arabic.

 

Her husband Lutfu Uyanik was wounded in the attack.

 

 

 

Her husband was not in serious condition despite his wounds.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the shooting. The mass killing at the nightclub was at least the fourth major attack in Turkey in less than a month, raising questions about the ability of the government, a NATO member and critical regional ally of the United States, to counter an array of threats stemming from the war across Turkey’s border in Syria, as well as an escalating conflict with Kurdish militants inside Turkey.

 

An image, reportedly of one of the gunmen involved in the attack at the Istanbul nightclub.Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country would fight to the end against all forms of attack by terror groups and their backers.

“As a nation, we will fight to the end against not just the armed attacks of terror groups and the forces behind them, but also against their economic, political and social attacks,” Erdogan said in a written statement.

“They are trying to create chaos, demoralise our people, and destabilise our country with abominable attacks which target civilians … We will retain our cool-headedness as a nation, standing more closely together, and we will never give ground to such dirty games,” he said.

On the European side of the country’s capital, about 12km from Istanbul, the suburb of Ortakoy is an international travel destination known for its food stalls and vibrant night life. The area is a mix of stone, brick and wooden buildings along pedestrian lanes.

Mehmet Kocarslan, the club’s owner, told the Hurriyet.com.tr news site that there had been increased security at the club for the past 10 days after US intelligence officials shared information about the planned attack. He said the attackers used Kalashnikov rifles.

Television footage showed dozens of ambulances rushing to the scene, and people fleeing, some walking with difficulty arm in arm.

Footage from the scene showed at least six ambulances with flashing lights and civilians being escorted out. NTV said police had cordoned off the area and an operation to capture the assailant was ongoing.

An AP photographer says police cordoned off the area about three kilometres away from the nightclub and reported multiple ambulances passing by.

President Barack Obama expressed condolences on Saturday over the attack and directed his team to offer US help to Turkish authorities, the White House said.

“This afternoon the President was briefed by his national security team on the attack in Istanbul,” White House spokesman Eric Schultz said in a statement.

“The President expressed condolences for the innocent lives lost, directed his team to offer appropriate assistance to the Turkish authorities, as necessary, and keep him updated as warranted.”

Britain’s Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, responded on Twitter, saying his thoughts were with Turkey after this “cowardly act of terrorism”.

“We stand shoulder to shoulder with our Turkish friends,” he added.

Security measures had been heightened in major Turkish cities, with police barring traffic leading up to key squares in Istanbul and the capital Ankara. In Istanbul, 17,000 police officers were put on duty, some camouflaged as Santa Claus and others as street vendors, state news agency Anadolu reported.

Ankara and Istanbul have been targeted by several attacks in 2016 carried out by the Islamic State group or Kurdish rebels, killing more than 180 people.

Turkey is still recovering from a failed coup attempt that began July 15 in which at least 265 people were killed.

Although the coup effort sputtered in a matter of hours, Mr Erdogan responded with a sweeping, months-long crackdown targeting alleged dissidents across Turkish society.

In addition to arresting thousands of military personnel suspected of involvement in the coup, hundreds of thousands of civil servants, educational staff and journalists were purged.

The coup and the assassination of the Russian Ambassador Andrey G. Karlov in Ankara on December 19 raised concerns that the country’s security establishment had grown ineffective.

The turmoil also raised doubts about how well Turkey would be able to participate in international counter-terrorism efforts, especially with regard to the Islamic State.

DPA/Reuters/AP/New York Times/Washington Post


abc.net.au

39 dead in New Year ‘terror attack’ on Istanbul nightclub

 Sun 1 Jan 2017, 9:15pm

A gunman shot his way into an Istanbul nightclub packed with New Year’s revellers early on Sunday, killing at least 39 people and wounding almost 70 others in what the provincial Governor described as a terrorist attack.

Key points:

  • Istanbul city governor condemned the “terrorist attack” on the popular Reina nightclub
  • Around 500-600 people were thought to be in the club when the attack happened
  • The attacker was believed to have entered the premises dressed as Santa Claus, local media reported

The assailant shot a police officer and a civilian as he entered the Reina nightclub before opening fire at random inside.

“A terrorist with a long-range weapon… brutally and savagely carried out this incident by firing bullets on innocent people who were there solely to celebrate the New Year and have fun,” Governor Vasip Sahin told reporters at the scene.

Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said the attacker was still at large and 69 people were being treated in hospitals following the shooting.

Mr Soylu said of the victims identified so far, 16 were foreign nationals. He did not provide any information on their countries.

In a statement, President Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey would fight to the end against all forms of attack by terror groups and their backers.

“As a nation, we will fight to the end against not just the armed attacks of terror groups and the forces behind them, but also against their economic, political and social attacks,” he said.

“They are trying to create chaos, demoralise our people, and destabilise our country with abominable attacks which target civilians … we will retain our cool-headedness as a nation, standing more closely together, and we will never give ground to such dirty games,” he said.

‘I had to lift several bodies from on top of me’

Around 500-600 people were thought to have been in the club when the attack happened at around 1:15am local time, broadcaster CNN Turk said.

The club lies on the shore of the Bosphorus Strait in the Ortakoy district, and some jumped into the water to save themselves and were being rescued by police.

Police with riot gear and machine guns backed up by armoured vehicles blocked the area close to the Reina nightclub.

Witness Sinem Uyanik, whose husband Lutfu Uyanik was wounded in the attack, told AP she saw several bodies inside the nightclub.

“Before I could understand what was happening, my husband fell on top me,” she said outside Istanbul’s Sisli Hospital.

“I had to lift several bodies from on top of me before I could get out.”

The attacker was believed to have entered the nightclub dressed as Santa Claus, private NTV television reported earlier.

Broadcaster CNN Turk initially said the attacker was thought still to be inside the building and that police special forces were preparing to raid it. NTV said the attacker’s whereabouts were unclear.

Dozens of ambulances and police vehicles were dispatched to the club in Ortakoy, a cosmopolitan neighbourhood nestled under one of three bridges crossing the Bosphorus, and home to clubs, restaurants and art galleries.

DFAT determining if any Australians involved

The Department of Foreign Affairs said the Australian embassy in Ankara was liaising with local authorities to determine if any Australians were caught up in the attack.

Reina is one of Istanbul’s best-known nightclubs, popular with locals and tourists alike.

Security measures had been heightened in major Turkish cities, with police barring traffic leading up to key squares in Istanbul and the capital Ankara. In Istanbul, 17,000 police officers were put on duty, some camouflaged as Santa Claus and others as street vendors, Anadolu reported.

Ankara and Istanbul have been targeted by several attacks in 2016 carried out by the Islamic State (IS) group or Kurdish rebels, killing more than 180 people.

Turkey, part of the US-led coalition against IS, faces multiple security threats including spill-over from the war in neighbouring Syria.

It has seen repeated attacks and bombings blamed on IS as well as Kurdish militants in recent months.

US President Barack Obama “expressed condolences for the innocent lives lost”, and said assistance would be offered to Turkish authorities.

Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag vowed that his country would press ahead with its fight against violent groups.

“Turkey will continue its determined and effective combat to root out terror,” Mr Bozdag said on Twitter.

ABC/wires

Topics: terrorism, unrest-conflict-and-war, turkey

First posted about 11 hours agoSun 1 Jan 2017, 10:25am

Bodies of Cory Breton, 28, and Iuliana Triscaru, 31, found inside metal box pulled from Logan dam


au.news.yahoo.com

Two bodies found in ‘large metal box’ following disappearance of Cory Breton and Iuliana Triscaru

Two bodies have been found inside a “large metal box” in a dam in Brisbane’s south during the search for missing Logan pair Cory Breton and Iuliana Triscaru.

A police spokesman wouldn’t confirm if bodies had been found however he said police had been searching for a steel box about 2m x 5m, which had since been found at a Kingston address.

At a press conference earlier today Detective Supt Dave Hutchinson stated: “We have located just after 8am this morning a large metal box submerged in one of the dams.“

“We’re still in the process of removing that box. It’s still in the dam at this point so we haven’t been able to open the box however we do fear that the box will contain the bodies of the two missing persons.”

The “large metal box” has since been removed by police. Source: 7 News.
Cory Breton and Iuliana Triscaru have been missing for two and a half weeks.

A large scale police search has been under-way today at Mudgee st, Kingston near Scrubby Creek for the missing two.

The remains will be subject to post-mortem examinations and positive identification.

The huge search efforts have continued today. Source: 7 News.

Six people have been charged with murder following an investigation into the disappearance the two.

Two men and a woman charged with murder made a brief appearance in court this morning.

Lawyers for Webbstar Latu, 31, Tuhirangi-Thomas Tahiata, 21, and Ngatokoona Mareti, 36, described them as ‘associates’ and not friends during court.

Mareti’s lawyer said she was ‘devastated and shocked’.

A 24-year-old Logan Central man, another 21-year-old man and a 22-year-old man of no fixed address have also been charged with two counts of murder.

The lawyer for one of the people charged, a 36-year-old woman, said she has seven children.

Overnight four people assisted police following the mysterious disappearance of the south east Queensland pair.

Two men were arrested after police intercepted a vehicle on the Gateway Motorway at Belmont just before 5pm yesterday.

Police allegedly located a quantity of methylamphetamine during a search of the vehicle.

A spokesman said the three were assisting police with their inquiries into the disappearance of Breton, 28, and Triscaru, 31.

The two had been missing for more than two weeks.

A search operation conducted by specialist police will be continuing today at a location off Mudgee Street, Kingston.

Detectives also spoke with 23-year-old Lelan Harrington, who was reported missing on January 25, one day after his friends vanished.

Initially police were searching for all three, however Mr Harrington was found safe at a Logan home on Tuesday.

Two crime scenes had been set up in the suburb of Kingston, including one at Mr Harrington’s home.

Logan pair Cory Breton, 28, and mother-of-three Iuliana Triscaru, 31. Photo: Queensland Police.

On Wednesday, police divers and helicopters searched bushland but failed to locate any traces of the missing pair.

Police were also seeking dashcam video from the Cleveland ferry terminal carpark between January 24-26.

A silver Mitsubishi Pajero which belonged to Mr Breton was found in the carpark after he disappeared.

Mr Breton reportedly discussed going on a holiday to Stradbroke Island before he vanished.

$3000 was also withdrawn from his bank account before he disappeared, according to police.

Police have released the image of a vehicle they suspect was involved in the crime. Source: QPS media.

Police have appealed for information in relation to this investigation and are seeking public assistance in relation to the movements of a dark green 1999 Toyota Hilux utility, Queensland Registration 684 VEP on the evening of 24 January 2016.

Ms Triscaru’s mother, told media on Tuesday her daughter was ‘a very good girl and a very good mum’.

“I’d be happy with just one call saying ‘Mama, I’m still alive’. That’s it,” she said.

Mr Breton’s partner, Miranda, also told media she had a ‘gut feeling’ and it was ‘not very good’.

In a statement released to 7 News the family stated: “Iuliana Triscaru was kind hearted and generous. Always smiling, she had a positive attitude towards life and loved her children more than anything. To know that she is no longer in life because she was murdered is extremely shocking, disturbing and very sad.”


 

The bodies of two people have been found locked in a large metal box that had been submerged in a dam at Kingston, south of Brisbane.

Police believe the bodies to be those of Cory Breton, 28, and Iuliana Triscaru, 31, who were reported missing last month.

The box was taken to Brisbane’s John Tonge Centre for forensic examination and found to contain the remains of two people.

Post mortems are being carried out to identify the pair.

A third person who had been reported missing, Lelan Harrington, was found alive on Tuesday.

The trio’s disappearance, and the motive behind the suspected murder of Mr Breton and Ms Triscaru, was “probably” drug related, police said.

Six people charged with two counts of murder

Six people – five men and one woman – were charged with murder on Wednesday night following an investigation into the pair’s disappearance.

Davy Malu Junion Taiao, Stou Daniels, Trent Michael Thrupp, all 22, Webbstar Latu, 31, Tuhirangi-Thomas Tahiata, 24, and 36-year-old Ngatokoona Maretti all face two counts of murder.

They were remanded in custody during a hearing at Brisbane Magistrates Court and will face court next month.

Lawyer Andrew Owens, who is representing Maretti, said she was a mother of seven and desperate to get back to her children.

Mr Owens said he did think Maretti knew the victims but was yet to receive formal instructions.

“I don’t think friends but more associates, but it’s really early days to see what her involvement is really,” he said.

He said his client was in shock but would fight the charges and apply for bail at a later stage.

Police looking for two more people

Detective Superintendent Dave Hutchinson said police were still looking for two other people as part of the investigation but they were not suspects.

“One is a 32-year-old male from Crestmead and the other is a 25-year-old male who was residing at the Dewer Street unit,” he said.

“We are looking for these people to speak with them – we believe they can assist us with our enquiries.

“We would encourage them to come in and speak with us now.

“Circumstances have changed, a number of people are in custody and we would ask those people to come forward and speak with the police.

“The motive is something we’re still looking at but we suspect that it probably will be drug related.”

Photo: Police at the dam site on vacant land around Mudgee Street at Kingston, south of Brisbane. (ABC News: Nick Castellaro)


Reports of two bodies found as police search for missing Logan pair

Iuliana Triscaru and Cory Breton went missing in the Logan area in January. Picture: Queensland Police Service

Lauren McMah with AAP

UPDATE: TWO bodies have been found in a metal box that was sunk in a dam south of Brisbane.

The two bodies are yet to be identified but police fear they are the remains of Cory Breton, 28, and Iulian Triscaru, 31, who have been missing since January 24.

Police made the grim discovery in the Logan suburb of Kingston, behind an equipment hire property near Scrubby Creek.

Detective Superintendent Dave Hutchinson said police were still establishing a motive for the suspected murders.

“The motive is something we’re still looking at. We suspect that it probably will be drug-related,” he said.

Police use a crane to retrieve the metal box. Picture: AAP Image/Dan Peled

Police use a crane to retrieve the metal box. Picture: AAP Image/Dan PeledSource:AAP

The discovery of the 2m-long box, believed to contain the remains of Mr Breton, 28, and mother-of-three Ms Triscaru, 31, came just hours after police charged six people with their murders.

Two of those people were arrested after armed police intercepted their BMW on Gateway Motorway at Belmont, southeast of Brisbane, before 5pm Wednesday.

Police charged six people — five men and one woman — with two counts of murder. They are Davy Malu Junior Taiao, 21, Stou Daniels, 21, Trent Michael Thrupp, 22, Webbstar Latu, 31, Tuhirangi-Thomas Tahiata, 24 and Ngatokoona Maretti, 36.

Police load the metal box into a van after pulling it out of the dam. Picture: AAP Image/Dan Peled

Police load the metal box into a van after pulling it out of the dam. Picture: AAP Image/Dan PeledSource:AAP

The Brisbane Magistrates Court on Thursday morning remanded all six people in custody. They will next face court on March 21.

Lawyer Alan Phillips, who represented three of the accused, said it was too early to comment when approached by waiting media outside court.

Detectives are still searching for two men, aged 32 and 25, who they want to question over the pair’s suspected murders.

Police are also looking for a 1999 Toyota HiLux ute they believe was used to transport the box, and two fluorescent yellow ratchet straps used to tie it down.

Supt Hutchinson said the family of Mr Breton and Ms Triscaru were “devastated”.

“This is something that has occurred very quickly, obviously it’s just evolved over the last couple of nights, and how the realisation will be hitting everybody of what has occurred.”

He said detectives have worked 24 hours a day on the case.

Earlier, police set up two crime scenes in the Logan suburb of Kingston, including at the home of 23-year-old Lelan Harrington, who had disappeared along with Mr Breton and Ms Triscaru but was found safe and well on Tuesday.

Police said Mr Breton and Ms Triscaru have been missing since January 24.

On Wednesday, police divers, dogs and a helicopter scoured dams, a creek and bushland around the site but failed to discover any trace of the missing pair.

Concerned neighbours near the bushland said their children often went swimming in the dams that surrounded their property.

“We’ve lived here for 30 years and we have never seen anything like this,” Janina Poom told the Courier Mail.

“We’re at the end of the street so we get a lot of hoons and the like, but that’s about it.”

Mr Breton’s partner Miranda (left) and Triscaru’s mother Victoria speak to the media at Logan police headquarters on Tuesday. Picture: AAP Image/Ed Jackson

Mr Breton’s partner Miranda (left) and Triscaru’s mother Victoria speak to the media at Logan police headquarters on Tuesday. Picture: AAP Image/Ed JacksonSource:AAP

A silver Mitsubishi Pajero belonging to Mr Breton was discovered in the carpark of the Cleveland ferry terminal following his disappearance.

He had reportedly discussed going on holiday to Stradbroke Island before he went missing.

He also withdrew $3000 just days before his disappearance, police said.

Ms Triscaru’s mother, Victoria, fronted the media on Tuesday in a public appeal for help to find her daughter.

“I miss her. She’s a very good girl and a very good mum,” she said. “The kids ask me all the time, ‘Where Mummy, where Mummy?’

“I’d be happy with just one call saying, ‘Mama, I’m still alive.’ That’s it.”

Mr Breton’s partner, Miranda, has told reporters of her fears. “Unfortunately, my gut feeling is not very good,” she said.

“Nothing adds up … it’s like a big puzzle that’s missing a lot of pieces.”

Police officers establish a crime scene near bushland in Kingston, south of Brisbane, as the search continues.

Police officers establish a crime scene near bushland in Kingston, south of Brisbane, as the search continues.Source:AAP

Miranda said Cory had dropped her at the airport as she headed to Newcastle in NSW to visit family. “That was the last time we spoke,” she said.

“He seemed in good spirits. He was talking about starting work with a mate of his that I know who runs a company in trade work of some description.

“I’ve got a million and one scenarios running through my mind as to what may have happened but I just want to know that he’s OK.

“It’s breaking us all that he’s missing — we’ve got a three-year-old daughter who is wondering where he is.

“He didn’t seem to be in trouble.”

Supt Hutchison said on Tuesday: “It’s every possibility they could be in fear for some unknown reason and have gone into hiding.

“There has been suggestion that some of them have decided to start a new life.

“All these are rumours.”

Police establish two crime scenes in search for missing Logan duo. Video: 7 News Queensland


 

Paris attacks: Scenes of devastation in the French capital


It is wake up time people. Have the media laws kept you just that little bit away from the slaughter, the suicide bombings and massacre of innocent folks going about their day?
WELL… BE WARNED I AM POSTING AN EXTREMELY DISTURBING IMAGE OF THE CONCERT HALL BECAUSE I CAN! I hope the BEST bands in the WORLD have the guts to play in this hall and not for rich celeb types either. Maybe the orphans and widows etc???
HOW ABOUT A QUICK COFFEE AND CAKE? see that a bit further down…THE AMAZING thing is folks are queuing up to have a coffee there since it happened.
FRANCE ONE DAY YOUR PLACE NEXT. GOING TO LISTEN TO SOME MUSIC AND CHILL OUT FROM THE CRAZY WORLD AROUND THEM. THIS IS HOW THE ENDED UP AFTER GOING TO SEE Eagles of Death Metal  (Who need support from every corner of the world)
Dying to see a band
Dying to see a band

+ Add New Category

La Belle Equipe
La Belle Equipe

Related Story: As it happened: At least 120 people killed in multiple Paris attacks

Related Story: Coordinated terror attacks leave France in shock
Related Story: Information for paris bombing map

About 120 people have been killed in multiple terrorist attacks in the French capital, including about 100 who were taken hostage at a rock concert, according to Paris city officials.

Here is a collection of images and footage from Paris as the situation unfolds.

Paris attacks: Weapons seized during pre-dawn raids, French PM warns more attacks being planned

French police seized “an arsenal” of weapons during dozens of pre-dawn raids against Islamist suspects in the early hours of Monday (local time), as prime minister Manuel Valls warned terrorists were planning more attacks in the wake of Friday night’s atrocities in Paris.

The raids focused particularly on the Lyon area, where police made five arrests and seized a rocket launcher, a Kalashnikov assault rifle, bulletproof vests and handguns.

Mr Valls said authorities have conducted at least 150 house searches in cities around France since the attacks.

Earlier reports had said pre-dawn police operations were carried out in the Paris suburb of Bobigny as well as in Jeumont, close to the French border with Belgium, and in the southern city of Toulouse.

Thirteen raids were carried out around the south-eastern French city of Lyon, a local police source said.

They led to five arrests and the seizure of “an arsenal of weapons”, including a rocket launcher, a Kalashnikov assault rifle, bulletproof vests, handguns and combat gear, the source said.

French media have reported at least six people were arrested in another raid in the Alpine city of Grenoble.

Mr Valls said terrorism could hit again in “in days or weeks to come” and said the attacks in Paris, which killed 129 people, were “planned in Syria”.

He said French intelligence services had prevented several attacks since the summer and police knew other attacks were being prepared in France as well as in the rest of Europe.

“We are making use of the legal framework of the state of emergency to question people who are part of the radical jihadist movement … and all those who advocate hate of the republic,” he said.

“We know that operations were being prepared and are still being prepared, not only against France but other European countries too.”

On Sunday night (local time) French jets launched extensive air strikes on what the government in Paris said were Islamic State targets in the terrorist movement’s stronghold Raqqa.

Prosecutors earlier revealed a growing Belgian connection to the Paris attacks, with officials conceding a poor district in Brussels with past links to international terrorism is a “gigantic problem” and a hotbed for extremism.

A manhunt is also underway for Salah Abdeslam, a Belgium-born man identified as the only surviving terrorist from the attacks.

Seven UK terror attacks ‘stopped’ in last six months: Cameron

British prime minister David Cameron said UK security services had foiled about seven terror attacks since June.

“Our security and intelligence services have stopped something like seven attacks in the last six months, albeit attacks planned on a smaller scale [than Paris attacks],” he told BBC Radio 4.

“We have been aware of these cells operating in Syria that are radicalising people in our own countries, potentially sending people back to carry out attacks.

“It was the sort of thing we were warned about.”

In response to the Paris attacks, Mr Cameron said he wanted Britain to join the fight in Syria to carry out air strikes against Islamic State (IS) militants.

He will still need to convince more lawmakers to launch any action and will take a proposal to MPs soon.

Mr Cameron said Britain was engaged in a “generational struggle” against extremism and that he has boosted funding for security services in direct response to the threat posed by IS.

He also said there were “hopeful signs” from Saturday’s talks in Vienna on Syria that progress was being made on how to deal with the IS.

“You can’t deal with so-called Islamic State unless you get a political settlement in Syria that enables you then to permanently degrade and destroy that organisation,” he said.

ABC/wires


Paris attacks: What we know so far

A series of coordinated terrorist attacks ripped through Paris shortly after 9pm on Friday November 13. Here is what we know so far.

What we know about the attacks

What we know about the attackers

  • At least eight attackers were involved, operating in three separate groups.
  • Seven of them died, including six who detonated vests laden with explosives.
  • An international manhunt is underway for Belgian-born Salah Abdeslam, who is believed to be the eighth attacker.
    • Abdeslam, 26, was questioned and released near the Belgian border soon after the attacks.
    • One of his brothers, Ibrahim Abdeslam, was involved in the attacks; he died after detonating his suicide vest on Boulevard Voltaire.
    • Another brother, Mohamed Abdeslam, was arrested in Brussels.
  • Another attacker was named as Omar Ismail Mostefai, 29, who was identified from a severed finger at the Bataclan concert hall.
  • Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks, saying they were in response to insults of Islam’s prophet and air strikes in IS territory.

What we know about the investigation

What we know about France’s response

  • French president Francois Hollande told the French people “we are going to fight and our fight will be merciless”.
  • France launched air strikes against IS militants in Syria.

    bbc.com

    Paris attacks: Bataclan and other assaults leave many dead – BBC News

     People could be seen escaping from the Bataclan concert hall shortly after a series of explosions

    France has declared a national state of emergency and tightened borders after at least 128 people were killed in a night of gun and bomb attacks in Paris.

    Eighty people were reported killed after gunmen burst into the Bataclan concert hall and took hostages before security forces stormed the hall.

    People were shot dead at restaurants and bars at five other sites in Paris. At least 180 people were injured.

    These are the deadliest attacks in Europe since the 2004 Madrid bombings.

    French President Francois Hollande, visibly shaken, called Friday night’s almost simultaneous attacks “a horror” and vowed to wage a “merciless” fight against terrorism.

    Paris saw three days of attacks in early January, when Islamist gunmen murdered 18 people after attacking satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, a Jewish supermarket and a policewoman on patrol.

    Live: Follow the latest developments here

    In pictures: Paris shootings

    Eyewitness accounts from the scene

    The attack on the 1,500-seat Bataclan hall was by far the deadliest of Friday night’s attacks. Gunmen opened fire on concert-goers watching US rock group Eagles of Death Metal. The event had been sold out.

    “At first we thought it was part of the show but we quickly understood,” Pierre Janaszak, a radio presenter, told Agence France Presse.

    Speaking outside the Bataclan concert hall President Hollande said the attacks were “an abomination and a barbaric act”

    “They didn’t stop firing. There was blood everywhere, corpses everywhere. We heard screaming. Everyone was trying to flee.”

    He said the gunmen took 20 hostages, and he heard one of them tell their captives: “It’s the fault of Hollande, it’s the fault of your president, he should not have intervened in Syria”.

    Within an hour, security forces had stormed the concert hall and all four attackers there were dead. Three had blown themselves up and a fourth was shot dead by police.


    Attack sites:

    La Belle Equipe, 92 rue de Charonne, 11th district – at least 19 dead in gun attacks

    Le Carillon bar and Le Petit Cambodge restaurant at rue Alibert, 10th district – at least 12 dead in gun attacks

    La Casa Nostra restaurant, 92 rue de la Fontaine au Roi, 11th district – at least 5 dead in gun attacks

    Stade de France, St Denis, just north of Paris – explosions heard outside venue, three attackers dead

    Bataclan concert venue, 50 boulevard Voltaire, 11th district – stormed by several gunmen, at least 80 dead

    map of attack sites
    The attacks took place at six sites across Paris, mainly in the centre of the city

    What we know

    #Paris: Power, horror, and lies


    Meanwhile, not far from the Place de la Republique and the Place de la Bastille, three busy restaurants and a bar were targeted by gunmen armed with Kalashnikovs.

    Around 40 people were killed as customers were singled out at venues including a pizza restaurant and a Cambodian restaurant, Le Petit Cambodge.

    “We heard the sound of guns, 30-second bursts. It was endless. We thought it was fireworks,” Pierre Montfort, a resident living close to Le Petit Cambodge said.

    Media captionAmateur footage captured the panic at the Stade de France in Paris, following a reported suicide blast

    The other target was the Stade de France, on the northern fringe of Paris, where President Hollande and 80,000 other spectators were watching a friendly international between France and Germany, with a TV audience of millions more.

    The president was whisked to safety after the first of at least two explosions just outside the venue to convene an emergency cabinet meeting. Three attackers were reportedly killed there.

    As the extent of the bloodshed became clear, Mr Hollande went on national TV to announce a state of emergency for the first time in France since 2005. The decree enables the authorities to close public places and impose curfews and restrictions on the movement of traffic and people.

     Ben Grant: “There were a lot of dead people… it was horrific”

    Paris residents have been asked to stay indoors and about 1,500 military personnel are being deployed across the city.

    All schools, museums, libraries, gyms, swimming pools and markets will be shut on Saturday as well as Disneyland Paris. All sporting fixtures in the affected area of Paris have also been cancelled, AFP reports.

    Police believe all of the gunmen are dead – seven killed themselves with explosives vests and one was shot dead by the security forces – but it is unclear if any accomplices are still on the run.

    US President Barack Obama spoke of “an outrageous attempt to terrorise innocent civilians”.

    UK PM David Cameron said he was shocked and pledged to do “whatever we can to help”.

    The Vatican called it “an attack on peace for all humanity” and said “a decisive, supportive response” was needed “on the part of all of us as we counter the spread of homicidal hatred in all its forms”.

    Spectators invade the pitch of the Stade de France stadium after the international friendly soccer France against Germany  
    Spectators flooded the pitch of the Stade de France after the France v Germany football match as news of the attacks spread
    Rescuers evacuate people following an attack in the 10th arrondissement of the French capital Paris  
    Rescuers evacuate people following one of the attacks
    General view of the scene with rescue service personnel  
    Witnesses have been speaking of “carnage”

    Analysis: BBC’s Europe correspondent Damian Grammaticas

    It’s just 10 months since Paris was the scene of multiple terrorist attacks, first the massacre of staff at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and then a hostage-taking at a Jewish supermarket.

    What happened in Paris on Friday night is exactly what Europe’s security services have long feared, and tried to foil. Simultaneous, rolling attacks, with automatic weapons and suicide bombers in the heart of a major European city, targeting multiple, crowded public locations.

    The tactics have been used before, in Mumbai and elsewhere. But how they’ve come to Europe is one of many questions that will have to be answered.

    Were the attackers French citizens? If so, how they were radicalised, armed and organised – was it in France, in Syria, and by whom? Why weren’t they detected? Is France, after two major attacks this year, uniquely vulnerable or does the carnage in Paris mean all of Europe faces new threats to our public places and events? And if a Syrian link is proven, will France recoil from that conflict or will it redouble its commitment to the fight against radical groups there?


    Are you in the area? Have you been affected by what has been happening? Do you have any information you can share? If it is safe to do so, you can get in touch by emailing haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk.

    Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways:

    • WhatsApp: +44 7525 900971
    • Send pictures/video to yourpics@bbc.co.uk
    • Upload your pictures / video here
    • Tweet: @BBC_HaveYourSay
    • Send an SMS or MMS to +44 7624 800 100

      Paris attackers most likely backed and trained by Islamic State in Iraq or Syria, says security expert

      Posted about an hour ago

      A security expert says it is “extremely unlikely” that the eight men who carried out the Paris attacks could have done so without military training in Iraq or Syria.

      The latest reports out of France suggest there were three teams involved in the weekend’s attacks that left 129 people dead.

      Neil Fergus, the chief executive of the security consultancy Intelligent Risk Group, said it appeared the terrorists had a significant support team.

      “There’s no doubt that they… certainly had accomplices that had done reconnoitring of those sites, and that means they had logisticians, transport people, they undoubtedly had a safe house, or indeed, multiple safe houses, people who procured the motor vehicles,” he said.

      “They had to have transported weapons, not just side-arms of course.

      “We know that they had Kalashnikovs, AK-47 long-arms, explosives, TATP explosives themselves have to be transported carefully and of course they were constructed into suicide vests or belts either before being sent to France, or Belgium and then to France, or in France.”

      Mr Fergus is certain the terrorists were trained by Islamic State in the Middle East, either in Iraq or Syria.

      “There have been improvised training camps in France that the French authorities have detected before, but this type of operation, these types of activities in which these eight perpetrators were involved evidence a great deal more sophistication in terms of training and experience,” he said.

      “For example we have eyewitness accounts of the way that they went about their evil business in the theatre, with one person providing very professional cover of the main assailant as he systematically executed people in that theatre.”

      He said the type of operation suggested a great deal of sophistication in terms of training and experience.

      What modus operandi was used to be able to plan and execute this operation in this way? It has implications for (Australia), and we need to study it carefully.

      Neil Fergus, chief executive of the Intelligent Risk Group

      “It’s not ad hoc training in a forest firing at some targets.

      “That’s people who have gone through proper military training, and indeed, as I said before, almost certainly, to do that sort of callous cold-blooded operation, they have been blooded in the fields of Syria or northern Iraq.”

      Mr Fergus said it was impossible to be certain, but knowing the very hierarchical, compartmentalised structure of IS, the operation was almost certainly authorised by Islamic State’s senior leadership group in the Middle East.

      “It would be almost inconceivable to think that a local cell would be able to gather all of the resources and capabilities, some of which are clearly from offshore, outside of France, to put this together,” he said.

      Security lessons for Australia

      Mr Fergus said the attack’s success pointed to a failure of intelligence in France.

      “What is incredible is that an attack, or a set of attacks of this nature and this complexity, were planned and executed without intelligence services in the region, or indeed in Europe, getting apparently any inkling, any indication that such a scale of operation would be in prospect,” he said.

      “The more people that are involved in an operation, the more likely that intelligence services will detect something is afoot.”

      Mr Fergus said there were security lessons Australia can learn from the attack.

      “I have no doubt that the senior security authorities in Australia, including Duncan Lewis, director-general of ASIO, will be keenly looking to French liaisons to understand their post-event analyses, particularly on whether there had been intelligence that had been missed, or indeed whether the perpetrators have exercised a heightened level of security to such an extent that they did slip under the radar.

      “And that has some implications not just for Australia but for the rest of the civilised world.

      “What modus operandi was used to be able to plan and execute this operation in this way?

      “It has implications for us, and we need to study it carefully.”

      Topics: terrorism, unrest-conflict-and-war, security-intelligence, defence-and-national-security, france, syrian-arab-republic, iraq

Sydney shooting: two people shot outside NSW Police headquarters at Parramatta


Parramatta shooting: Four arrested in western Sydney over terrorist attack outside police HQ; suspects linked to Baryalei terror raids

Three of four males arrested this morning over last week’s fatal terrorist attack at Parramatta police headquarters were targeted in Australia’s biggest counter-terrorism raids a year ago.

Police this morning arrested four males aged between 16 and 22 in counter-terror raids across western Sydney.

A fifth person, a 24-year-old man from Merrylands, was also arrested this morning but was not detained as part of the joint counter-terror raids operation.

He was arrested as a result of an outstanding warrant for identity fraud and other fraud matters.

Police allege the four men arrested in the counter-terrorism operation are directly linked to the fatal shooting of police accountant Curtis Cheng outside the Parramatta police HQ last Friday.

Eighteen-year-old Raban Alou was arrested at Lane Street, Wentworthville, the same home where his older brother Kawa was arrested in sweeping raids in September last year and released without charge.

Police also arrested a 16-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons and who was in the same year at Arthur Phillip High School as Farhad Jabar Khalil Mohammad, the 15-year-old who shot Mr Cheng.

At Marsfield, police arrested another target of the September 2014 raids, 22-year-old Mustafa Dirani, a former student of Arthur Phillip High.

This afternoon police released two of the four who were arrested, both aged 22, after the detention period allowed in their warrants expired.

Police also returned this morning to the Guildford home of Omarjan Azari, who is in jail on a charge of conspiracy to murder after being arrested in last year’s raids.

The 2014 raids were sparked by a phone call to Azari in which Australia’s most senior Islamic State lieutenant, Mohammad Ali Baryalei, allegedly directed him to kill a random member of the public.

Members of the group who were raided in 2014 and Baryalei, who has since been killed in Syria, were known to congregate at the Parramatta mosque where Farhad Jabar Khalil Mohammad spent several hours before he carried out last Friday’s attack.

The 15-year-old was shot and killed by police at the scene of the shooting.

15yo gunman ‘did not act alone’

Police are investigating where the gun came from and whether one of the four men arrested this morning supplied it to the gunman.

NSW Police Force Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn it was unclear whether or not the four arrested today inspired the terrorist attack on Parramatta Police HQ.

“We have certain suspicions and we are clearly going to have to sift through all of this over the next couple of days,” she said.

She said the motivation of the 15-year-old was still unknown but police definitely had the suspicion he did not act alone.

“What we are investigating is a terrorism offence so what we would suggest and we suspect is that there was some influence — whether it was ideologically, religious or politically motivated — that determined and influenced the 15-year-old to go and commit this horrendous act of violence,” she said.

But Ms Burn said the teen gunman had “not been a target of ours and is not somebody we would have assessed as a threat”.

Acting Deputy Commissioner Neil Gaughan told reporters no terrorist organisation had claimed responsibility for the attack.

Meanwhile, New South Wales Premier Mike Baird said “there’s no doubt” Sydney had a problem with Islamic radicalisation.

“Importantly though, this is a minority. It is something that will be dealt with,” he said.

“It will be dealt with on the basis of the Muslim community [and] it’ll be done more broadly with the whole community.”

Three arrested plus gunman went to same school

Mr Baird said he was concerned about religious radicalisation in the state’s schools, but insisted the problem was not widespread.

Two of the males arrested today, along with a teenager charged with threatening police yesterday, and the teenage gunman from the Parramatta attack all went to Arthur Phillip High School.

But certainly my strong assurance to the people of NSW is that our schools are safe.

Mr Baird said he had asked the Education Department to accelerate the work it was doing to combat radicalisation among school students, but he downplayed the extent of the problem.

“There have been some isolated incidents. They are being dealt with by police, they are being dealt with by the Department of Education together and that’s what we need to continue to see,” Mr Baird said.

“We need to understand that we are in a new world. The risks that are emerging are new.

“But certainly my strong assurance to the people of NSW is that our schools are safe.”

Earlier, Federal Justice Minister Michael Keenan defended programs designed to stop young people becoming influenced by radical extremism.

“We are working to try and divert people if we think they are falling under the spell of ISIL in the Middle East,” Mr Keenan told the ABC’s AM program.

Mr Keenan said Australia was a world leader in the global response, and was also making inroads at a local level.

In a message to parents today, Arthur Phillip High School principal Lynne Goodwin said NSW Police had advised the school that “there is no ongoing threat as a result of last Friday’s tragic event”.

“I would like to reassure the whole Arthur Phillip High School community that the school continues to be in close liaison with the Department of Education and the NSW Police to uphold our exemplary levels of student safety and student wellbeing,” Ms Goodwin said.

“Our school counsellors are available for all students, if required, today or in the future.”

Police reach out to Turkish counterparts to find gunman’s sister

Farhad’s sister flew out of the country, bound for the Middle East, a day before the NSW Police headquarters shooting.

The woman is a key focus of inquiries into the crime, with police suspicious of the timing of her travel.

“We have passed the details of that young lady on to the Turkish national police who will actively try and find her for us,” Mr Gaughan said.

“I might stress at this time there is no suggestion that she has been involved in any criminal activity here, but obviously investigators are very keen to have a chat with her about what she knows about her brother’s action.”

Hundreds of police involved in dawn raids

More than 200 officers took part in this morning’s raids, launched at 6:00am AEDT.

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Video: Woman at Merrylands home raided by police lashes out at media (ABC News)

Neighbours living across the road from the Marsfield property confirmed it was not the first time police had visited the home.

Elaine Archer told the ABC when she saw police vehicles this morning she thought to herself, “Ok, here we go again”.

“We went through it the last time they raided the same house,” Ms Archer said.

This morning’s operation followed last night’s raid on the home of an Arthur Phillip High teenager who allegedly used his Facebook page to threaten police.

Parramatta shooting: Police search mosque in shooting investigation

The Parramatta Mosque has been searched, a senior police source has told the ABC, as investigations into Friday’s fatal shooting of a civilian police force employee continue.

Farhad Jabar Khali Mohammad, 15, shot and killed 17-year police force veteran Curtis Cheng at close range outside the Parramatta police headquarters.

A senior police source told the ABC Farhad attended a mosque shortly before the shooting.

The mosque believed to have been searched overnight is a few blocks away from the site of the shooting that killed Mr Cheng, 58, as he left work at 4:30pm on Friday.

A senior figure at the Parramatta mosque has confirmed that police searched the mosque to look for a black backpack which they believe Farhad used to carry the gun he used to kill Mr Cheng.

Police said the warrant was undertaken by arrangement with leadership at the mosque, who gave their full assistance to police.

Earlier, a police source said the teenager had been armed with a revolver and did not know Mr Cheng.

After shooting Mr Cheng, Farhad fired at officers who emerged from the building to respond to the incident, but was killed when special constables returned fire.

Earlier, senior law enforcement sources said it appeared the teenager had acted alone.

“The people there (at the mosque) went looking for him after prayer,” one source said.

“There is a fair bit of information that he acted alone.”

They said after prayer he changed into a black robe.

Neil El-Kadomi from the Parramatta Mosque said Farhad visited the building in the past on occasion but he did not know him by name.

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Video: GRAPHIC CONTENT: Video shows shooter outside Parramatta police headquarters (ABC News)

“Because he was very quiet nobody noticed him,” Mr El-Kadomi said.

“He’s not known in the mosque. He came to the mosque to heal himself before he did the crime, which is wrong.”

Mr El-Kadomi said the mosque had nothing to do with the shooting and did not condone it.

“The boy, he did it alone. He died and his motive died with him,” he said.

“You have to be an active person in society, you have to join others in building Australia.

“So, we don’t agree with what happened in Parramatta.

“We’ve got nothing to do with it and I hate the linking of the mosque with the crime.”

Shooter’s relative tipped off police

The ABC was told by a senior police source that it was the older brother of the Parramatta shooter who tipped off them off about the identity of Farhad.

It is also understood Farhad’s sister Shadi went missing on Thursday and flew out of Australia on a Singapore Airlines flight bound for Istanbul, and may be attempting to reach Iraq or Syria.

Her family told police she had taken all her belongings.

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Video: Parramatta shooting response mature, not panicked: security analyst (ABC News)

Police searched Farhad’s North Parramatta home and confiscated computer equipment.

ABC’s police source said the youth had been “carrying on” outside police headquarters for a few minutes before the shooting.

“He drew attention to himself to the extent some people caught it on their iPhones,” they said.

The gunman walked past a plain clothes female detective.

“She was wearing a business suit and she wasn’t carrying a gun,” a source said.

“This poor bloke [the victim] was apparently the first one to walk out of the building — he had a connection to the police force — that was it.”

Phone hook-up between Turnbull, Baird and Muslim leaders

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and NSW Premier Mike Baird have been holding talks with Muslim community leaders following the shooting.

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Video: Tackling radicalisation must involve Islamic community: Bishop (ABC News)

Ms Bishop said the issue of radicalisation must be addressed.

“So we’re certainly reaching out to the leaders of the Muslim community … but working with the families at a grassroots local level … it’s the families that will be a frontline of defence against radicalised young people … so we will be working very closely with them,” she said.

The ABC’s Fran Kelly told the Insiders program that a phone hook-up between “the Premier, the Police Commissioner and the Prime Minister with seven or eight members of the Muslim community” took place last night.

She said Mr Turnbull used the phone call to convey the message that “we have a remarkably cohesive society, respect is key to that and [urged] everyone to work together to expose preachers of hate”.

The ABC understands the community leaders were impressed by the move and communicated their willingness to work with governments. One leader said the conversation reset the relationship.

Muslim community leaders said they were shocked by the tragic shooting of Mr Cheng.

They called for more to be done to stop extremist leaders from recruiting vulnerable youths.

Sydney Muslim community leader Ahmad El-Hage said the Government only acted when extremist thoughts turn into acts of violence.

“And we tell them this is not correct we need to act way before that,” he said.

Mr El-Hage said the Government needed to focus on the extremist leaders rather than the young people they target.

Youth worker Sheikh Wesam Charkawi, who works with high school boys to counter radical ideas, said the acts of one person should not reflect upon the broader Muslim community.

He also said some of the youth he worked with feel marginalised.

“Some of them in their families feel that there’s a disconnect, some of them come from broken families and so there is an array of issues that can lead to criminality,” Mr Charkawi said.

He said despite youth being impressionable and often naive, nothing could justify what the shooter did.

Relative known to police and counter-terrorism authorities

As part of their investigation, police are now trying to trace the ownership and history of the revolver used by Farhad in the attack.

The ABC has been told the youth had never come to the attention of police.

“We don’t know anything about him,” the source said.

But it is understood a relative was known to law enforcement or intelligence agencies.

“[The relative] was a bit of a problem, he did come to the attention of police and counter-terrorism [authorities],” a source said.

One source confirmed the teenager was a Sunni Muslim who was born in Iran.

He said he was of Iraqi-Kurdish background and may have been a refugee.

“It is interesting he is a Kurd, the Kurds are among those bearing the brunt of ISIS, it doesn’t make any sense,” the source said.

‘He was callously murdered’: Civilian IT worker on his way home from work was shot dead at ‘very close range’ by a lone gunman outside police headquarters in Sydney’s west

  • Lone gunman opened fire outside police HQ before being shot dead
  • Civilian IT expert was also killed in double shooting at station in Sydney
  • Witnesses described seeing two bodies on the ground covered in sheets
  • Police allegedly warned about possible attack through intelligence sources

A lone gunman shot dead a civilian police IT expert at close range outside a force headquarters in a targeted attack which has been described as a ‘brutal’ and ‘callous murder’.

The black-clad assailant also fired a number of shots at special constables guarding the NSW Police station in Parramatta today before he was gunned down and killed by one of the officers.

Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione offered his condolences to the family of the unnamed police employee who was killed on his way home from work and said there was no further threat.

He refused to be drawn on whether the double shooting was terror-related, but admitted that officers from within the counter-terrorism command were working alongside the homicide squad. 

Commissioner Scipione said the gunman, who was wearing dark trousers and a flowing dark top, acted ‘aggressively’ after shooting the IT worker and brandished his gun in the street at 4.30pm.

A civilian IT expert working for police is believed to have been shot dead after a lone gunman opened fire outside a force headquarters in Sydney, pictured officers gather around a white sheet covering a body

A civilian IT expert working for police is believed to have been shot dead after a lone gunman opened fire outside a force headquarters in Sydney, pictured officers gather around a white sheet covering a body

The gunman has also reportedly been killed after an exchange of gunfire with special constables who guard the entrance of the main station in Parramatta 

Witnesses have described seeing the gunman, who was dressed all in black, running down the street brandishing a pistol at 4.30pm today just before he was shot, pictured is the scene outside the station

Witnesses have described seeing the gunman, who was dressed all in black, running down the street brandishing a pistol at 4.30pm today just before he was shot, pictured is the scene outside the station

 He said: ‘I have viewed a number of pieces of footage, I can tell you that this was a brutal crime. It was a terrible crime.

‘We’re attempting to identify a man who was seen to approach the victim and discharge one single shot. Subsequently the assailant remained in the street here in Charles Street before he fired several further shots at a special constable.

‘A number of special constables came out of the building and as they’ve emerged they’ve come under fire.

‘In the exchange that followed the gunman was shot and killed. An employee of the NSW police force has been callously murdered here today. This is a very sobering time for us.’

When asked whether police were warned about a possible attack at the station, Commissioner Scipione revealed there had been a number of alerts in 2014 and 2015 about remaining ‘vigilant’.

‘We have drawn officers back to the special warnings which are contained within alert 2015,’ he said.

‘We’ve refreshed that alert and yet again highlighted the importance of remaining vigilant and being ready to respond should they have to at any location but particularly around police stations. I want to ensure that we don’t jump to conclusions, as I’ve said. 

‘I’ve indicated that but we’re keeping an open mind. At this stage we’ve got nothing to link this event to any terrorist-related activity but we could not say that that wasn’t the case. So clearly you would understand we have officers from within the counter-terrorism command.’ 

The attack occurred outside a daycare centre used by police force families and the children were locked inside for four hours after the shooting with a dead body at their doorstep.

Detectives have launched a ‘critical incident investigation’ and confirmed that two people had been killed after a number of shots were fired.

Witnesses have reported seeing two bodies lying on the ground covered in white sheets (pictured)

An ambulance NSW spokeswoman said paramedics were on the scene at Charles St, in the city’s CBD

An ambulance NSW spokeswoman said paramedics were on the scene at Charles St, in the city’s CBD

Detectives have not yet established the identity of the deceased, according to a spokesman

Detectives have not yet established the identity of the deceased, according to a spokesman

Detectives have launched a 'critical incident investigation' and confirmed that two people had been killed after a number of shots were fired

Witnesses have described seeing the gunman, who was dressed all in black, running down the street brandishing a pistol at 4.30pm today just before he was shot.

They also reported seeing two bodies lying on the ground covered in white sheets.

Real estate agent Edwin Almeida said he saw a man with a gun screaming and pacing up and down outside the building on Charles Street.

He said he then saw the man lying on the ground with a police officer pointing a gun at him.

‘We looked out the window, saw security guards and what appeared to be a plain clothes police officer with gun drawn pointing at the person that was now lying on the floor surrounded by a pool of blood,’ he said.

He wrote on his Facebook page: ‘Four five shots fired by man outside our office and in front of NSW police head quarters. Man shot down by guards and detectives.’

A man called Nathan told 2GB Radio that he saw a man lying on the street surrounded by blood.

‘I saw the guy dressed in black on the pavement with blood everywhere,’ he said.

Channel Seven helicopter pilot Andrew Millett said: ‘We can see two bodies on the ground approximately 200m away from police headquarters’.

Ambulances were called to the scene at 4:35pm after ‘reports of two patients’, a spokeswoman said.

Officers in body armour have been seen patrolling the Parramatta CBD and guarding train stations, pictured is Charles Street

Officers in body armour have been seen patrolling the Parramatta CBD and guarding train stations, pictured is Charles Street

A section of Charles Street (pictured) between Macquarie Street and Hassall Street has been cordoned off and is currently being manned by police

An investigation is believed to be underway into whether the shooter had been recently charged by a detective from one of the State Crime Command squads

It is understood one of the victims is not a sworn officer but a civilian employee from the IT department of NSW Police.

Finance worker Rizwan Shaikh, who lives opposite the police headquarters, said he heard the shooting.

‘I finished work and was in the shower and I heard the gunshots,’ Mr Shaikh told The Daily Telegraph.

‘I heard six or seven gunshots and it was pretty loud. In two to three minutes there were cops everywhere.’

Miffy Hong, 33, said her mother called her just after 5pm to tell her she could see a body covered by a sheer near police headquarters.

‘She told me come back I don’t know what’s happening, she doesn’t speak English,’ she said.

The NSW Police Force building is home to the State Crime Command, which includes the homicide, drug, Middle Eastern organised crime and gangs squads.

An investigation is believed to be underway into whether the shooter had been recently charged by a detective from one of the State Crime Command squads.

Police have shut down the whole area and drivers have been told to avoid the scene at Charles Street.

Parents of young children locked inside Goodstart Early Learning, just metres from where the shooting took place, have voiced fears about their welfare.

Dennis Entriken, whose three-year-old daughter has not been allowed to leave, told Daily Mail Australia: ‘It’s very frustrating. One of the dead bodies is right out of the front of the chilcare centre.

‘What did they see, what did they hear? Is she scared? Is she OK?

‘They’ve told us she’s safe which is good… it’s the unknown which is the issue.’

He said police had warned him that she would not be out anytime soon and said there were around 10 children inside.

‘If she saw nothing and she’s blissfully unaware then that’s good,’ he said.

A section of Charles Street between Macquarie Street and Hassall Street has been cordoned off and is currently being manned by police.

Officers in body armour have been seen patrolling the Parramatta CBD and guarding train stations.

Witnesses described hearing what sounded like a car tyre exploding before buildings near the headquarters were evacuated.

Several roads in Parramatta were blocked after the shooting and helicopters were seen circling overhead, pictured is Charles Street

Several roads in Parramatta were blocked after the shooting and helicopters were seen circling overhead, pictured is Charles Street

Two people have been hurt and there are reports of a shooting outside police headquarters in Parramatta, in Sydney’s west

Two people have been hurt and there are reports of a shooting outside police headquarters in Parramatta, in Sydney’s west

Witnesses described hearing what sounded like a car tyre exploding before buildings near the headquarters were evacuated

The Australian

Mr Scipione said today’s incident was a targeted killing.

He said the victim, believed to be an IT worker, was “callously murdered here today”. “This was a brutal crime, this was a terrible crime,” he said.

The identity of the gunman is not yet known, Mr Scipione said, and neither is the motive for the killing.

He said the victim “was simply leaving work,” and offered his condolences to the family.

Police secure the scene of the shooting. Picture: Phillip Rogers

How today’s events unfolded

A massive police operation is under way in Parramatta in Sydney’s west after two people were shot dead outside NSW Police Force headquarters.

The operation began about 4.30pm today and police are advising people to avoid Charles Street and Hassall Street as a 2km exclusion zone has been set up.

The Daily Telegraph reports that police had warning of the attack through intelligence sources and one victim of the shooting “was a public servant working for NSW Police.”

“He was shot before (the) shooter was killed,” they report.

It is then believed “the gunman was shot by NSW Special Constables.”

The shooter, “believed to be of Middle Eastern appearance and dressed in black”, according to The Daily Telegraph, “launched an attack from the street, peppering the front of the building with bullets.”

“He shot a police IT expert before being gunned by special constables who guard the entrance,” they report.

Police said a critical incident investigation had been launched following the deaths of two people.

“The incident occurred outside the NSW Police headquarters building on Charles Street about 4.30pm today after a number of shots were fired,” the service said in a statement.

“It appears an officer has discharged his weapon, responding to a report that a person had been shot.

“Two people have died at the scene.” It said officers were still to establish the identity of those killed.

Two people were reportedly shot dead outside NSW Police headquarters.

The attack happened close to a childcare centre used by police force families.

Goodstart Early Learning centre staff member Ashmi Golwala said she heard at least three “loud sounds”.

“They sounded like crackers and I went outside to see what was happening and a police lady told me to stay inside,” she told The Australian.

A 2km exclusion zone has been set up around the NSW Police headquarters.

Real estate agent Edwin Almeida says he heard shots and saw a man in a black gown pacing and waving a gun outside the police headquarters.

Mr Almeida said his frightened staff ran into their office and heard three to four gun shots.

“We looked out the window, saw security guards and what appeared to be a plain clothes police officer with gun drawn and pointing at the person that was now lying on the floor surrounded by a pool of blood.”

Mr Almeida filmed part of the attack (see video above) and later described it to friends.

“There was blood everywhere … after the security and detectives fired on him,” he posted on Facebook.

“Staff being escorted to railway station by police. Great support from NSW police. These guys are bloody awesome.”

Some reports suggested the attack was a drive-by shooting, but Mr Almeida disputed this.

“This guy was not driving that’s for sure. He didn’t appear to be wanting to get away,” he said.

— Additional words: Rick Morton, with AAP

Police on Hassell St as night falls following the shooting. Picture: Jonathan Ng

Sydney terror raid-Omar Al-Kutobi, 24, and Mohammad Kiad, 25, arrested, hunting knife and flag seized


Omar al-Kutobi, a computer science student, and Mohammad Kiad, who moved into the property only last year
Omar al-Kutobi, a computer science student, and Mohammad Kiad, who moved into the property only last year

Friggin wannabe terrorists or facebook heroes by the look of them. Do not be deceived though, this is real and current and can bee happening in your very own street…Obviously they were not very clever pre posting a video leading to their arrest, amateurs really. But that is the way of the lone wolf it seems.

Sydney terror raid: Two men arrested, hunting knife and flag seized

Machete, flag and video found in terror raid
  • Two men arrested at Fairfield home hours before atrocity, say police
  • Machete, large hunting knife and IS flag seized.
  • Video, allegedly featuring one of the men, referred to IS attack
  • Neighbours described their ‘disbelief’ and ‘fear’
  • Premier Mike Baird said details of the plot were ‘beyond disturbing’

THE two men arrested in terror raids yesterday had been living in a small granny flat at the back of a share house in Fairfield, where neighbours today spoke of their disbelief.

Omar Al-Kutobi, 24, and Mohammad Kiad, 25, were arrested at the flat on Riverview Rd, Fairfield about 4pm yesterday by the Joint Counter Terrorism Taskforce after a receiving information that an attack was imminent.

Police allege the pair had armed themselves with a machete and large hunting knife and were due to carry out a terror attack yesterday before police swooped.

Mohammad Kiad was arrested at his Fairfield home yesterday. Pitcutre: Supplied.

Mohammad Kiad. Picture: Supplied. Source: Supplied

Omar al-Kutobi and Mohammad Kiad. Pitcutre: Supplied.

Mohammad Kiad and Omar al-Kutobi. Picture: Supplied. Source: Supplied

Terror suspect Mohammad Kiad. Pitcutre: Supplied.

Omar al-Kutobi, a computer science student, and Mohammad Kiad, who moved into the property only last year. Pitcutre: Supplied. Source: Supplied

THE NEIGHBOUR

Roberto Macatangay has lived in a caravan at the back of the property and said he knew Mr Al-Kutobi, a computer science student, for about three years.

He said Mohammad Kiad moved into the property only last year.

“I’m scared that I’m living with these people, “ Mr Macatangay said. “They seemed to be really nice. They were sarcastic people but I didn’t mind that. We used to joke about religion, about Mohammad and Jesus Christ.”

The granny flat and car on Riverview street in Fairfield. Picture: Supplied

The granny flat and car on Riverview street in Fairfield. Picture: Supplied Source: News Corp Australia

The granny flat in Fairfield where two men hatched a plot to carry out a terror plot. Pic

The granny flat in Fairfield where two men hatched a plot to carry out a terror plot. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

The Fairfield house from the outside. Picture: Google

The Fairfield house from the outside. Picture: Google Source: Supplied

Mr Macatangay said he did not believe Kiad worked full-time, but may have been studying for a forklift licence, and often visited a nearby recreational centre to do weight-lifting.

The 25-year-old has permanent residency in Australia and Al-Kutobi was granted Australian citizenship last year, he said.

 They don’t mingle much
Manueal Abello, tenant in the main house 

On his Facebook site, Kiad listed himself as married but Mr Macatangay said the couple separated last year when he moved in with Al-Kutobi.

Neighbour Roberto Macatangay said he was ‘scared’ living next to two terror suspects. Pic

Neighbour Roberto Macatangay said he was ‘scared’ living next to two terror suspects. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

Inside the Fairfield granny flat raided by police yesterday. Two men have been charged wi

Inside the Fairfield granny flat raided by police yesterday. Two men have been charged with plotting a terror attack. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

The facade of the granny flat where the plan was hatched. Picture: Supplied.

The facade of the granny flat where the plan was hatched. Picture: Supplied. Source: News Corp Australia

Mr Macatangay, a pensioner who moved to Australia from Hong Kong three years ago, said he was at home when heavily armed police stormed the property yesterday afternoon.

They carried out a search warrant at the property, sifting through the granny flat and Mohammad’s car, parked in the street, until the early hours of this morning.

“I was totally surprised and really scared because the gun was pointing at me,” Mr Macatangay said.

“I was watching TV in my caravan and suddenly the electrics turned off. I saw the police, they had their faces covered up with helmet and heavy machine gun. I didn’t know what was happening.

“They asked me about the people living there.”

The small, white granny flat remained locked yesterday. A small religious prayer flag could be seen hanging in a back room of the flat, along with study books, clothes and drawers that had been pulled out and left on the floor.

A car belonging to one of the two men charged with plotting a terror attack remains on th

A car belonging to one of the two men charged with plotting a terror attack remains on the street after being searched by police. Source: News Corp Australia

THE TENANT AND THE OWNER

The owner of the property said Kiad and Al-Kutobi rented the two-bedroom granny flat at the back of the property for about $200 a week.

She said she had never been inside as they always kept it locked up.

Manuel Abello, a tenant in the main house, said the pair were nice but very private.

“They don’t mingle much,” he said.

“I never expected this at all. They are quite nice. Very rarely they have guests.” Kiad’s car is still parked out the front of the Fairfield property, with finger printing dust the only tell-tale signs of the police search on Tuesday.

NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn and Australian Federal Police Deputy Commis

NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn and Australian Federal Police Deputy Commissioner Michael Phelan address the media. Picture: AAP Image/Ava Benny-Morrison. Source: AAP

THE LAW

Police raided the men’s home and searched a car and where they work. Both men were charged with undertaking acts in preparation of planning a terrorist act and will face court this morning.

A number of items were seized in the raids including a machete, a hunting knife, a home-made flag representing terrorist organisation IS and a video which depicted a man talking about carrying out an attack.

Fairfield Local Court heard the pair have spoken with a lawyer, but he is unavailable to appear for them in court today.

The pair’s legal aid lawyer didn’t apply for bail on the mens’ behalf and it was formally refused by magistrate Vivien Swain. The men did not appear in court after asking not to be brought up from the cells.

Commonwealth DPP prosecutor Michael Allnut, centre, arriving at Fairfield court today whe

Commonwealth DPP prosecutor Michael Allnut, centre, arriving at Fairfield court today where two men appeared on terror charges. Picture: Ross Schultz Source: News Corp Australia

Commonwealth prosecutor Michael Allnutt told the court the matter should be moved to Central Local Court due to “security issues.”

 We believe the men were potentially going to….kill somebody
Catherine Burn 

Two sheriffs officers today were searching bags and scanning every person who entered the complex ahead of the appearance of the two men.

Magistrate Vivienne Swain adorned the case until tomorrow, when both bail applications are expected to be heard.

A terror plot foiled last year allegedly involved kidnapping a person from Martin Place a

A terror plot foiled last year allegedly involved kidnapping a person from Martin Place and executing them. Picture: Bradley Hunter Source: News Corp Australia

The men will be assisted in their applications by an Arabic interpreter.

NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn said it will be alleged that the two were going to undertake an act of terrorism in Australia as revenge for incidents overseas.

“What we are going to allege is consistent with the IS messaging,” she said.

“We believe that the men were potentially going to harm somebody, maybe even kill somebody, and potentially using one of the items that we identified and recovered yesterday, potentially a knife.”

She added that police will allege the attack was due to be carried out yesterday, with a video shaping to be a key piece of evidence.

Police do not know the nature of the alleged terrorist’s target but urged people to remain vigilant, whether that be police, military or the general public.

“And a really, really important message about that vigilance is that everybody needs to remain alert and no matter what that piece of information is, it is really helpful,” Deputy Commissioner Burn said.

Marcia Mikhael crying while holding a flag inside the Lindt Cafe. Souce: Channel 7.

Marcia Mikhael crying while holding a flag inside the Lindt Cafe. Source: Channel 7. Source: Channel 7

The pair were not known to police, and police say they were only made aware of the planned activity recently.

AFP deputy commissioner Michael Phelan said the threat was acted on as quickly as possible.

Premier Mike Baird said he could not comment on what the accused terrorists were planning, but said it was “beyond disturbing”.

“I was very concerned. You can’t help but be on edge given the events that we have seen last December, the events we’ve seen around the world. This is an ongoing battle, an ongoing fight,” Mr Baird said.

The Premier thanked police for foiling the terror plot.

Police in a previous raid last year spoke of a plot to behead someone in Martin Place. It is understood that alleged plot involved abducting a random Australian, executing them by beheading in a public place, possibly Martin Place in Sydney’s CBD, and filming the act and posting it on social media.

Australian fugitive Khaled Sharrouf who fled Australia to fight with Islamic extremist in

Australian fugitive Khaled Sharrouf who fled Australia to fight with Islamic extremist insurgents in Syria seen with other ISIS extremists. Source: News Corp Australia

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Criminals including Tony Mokbel consider appealing convictions after IBAC mauls police over informer scandal


Here we go again , let the crooks ride the system for all it is worth, mostly on legal aid (taxpayers money). Drug dealers and murderers seem to be the only folks who can get access the bottomless resources of legal aid these days .Day to day folks have no chance because they are not facing jail time, does that make their legal woes any less important while scum like Mokbel milk the system dry? These crims see going to court appeal after appeal as a social outing, a time to see family and friends most of the time. They laugh at the system.

Vic police negligent in managing informers

Vic police negligent in managing informers

GANGLAND figures including Tony Mokbel are considering legal bids for freedom after the corruption watchdog found “negligence of a high order’’ in Victoria Police’s handling of informers.

The Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission’s damning report was prompted by a Herald Sun investigation of the force’s controversial use of informers to get information on gangland crimes, drug lords and corrupt police.

IBAC’s inquiry, led by former Supreme Court judge Murray Kellam, found the force failed in its handling of endangered informers and may have subverted Victoria’s justice system.

WITNESS: ‘POLICE THREATENED TO TAKE MY CHILD’

EDITORIAL: WE’VE BEEN KEPT IN DARK ON DIRTY SKELETON

The Herald Sun can today reveal one witness central to the IBAC inquiry has said senior police once threatened to take away a child unless the child’s parent joined the secretive witness protection program.

Tony Mokbel.

Tony Mokbel.

IBAC found police had failed to follow their own guidelines and policies and made 16 secret recommendations for how to handle “human sources’’.

Police passed the report to prosecutors, as Premier Daniel Andrews vowed to oversee reforms “to learn where things have gone wrong”.

Acting Chief Commissioner Tim Cartwright said he would take responsibility, despite not being in command at the time of the controversial decisions.

The report is secret, but there were calls for it to be made public as IBAC revealed the force’s handling of cases may have adversely affected the administration of justice.

The ramifications of the informer scandal could intensify the demand for a judicial inquiry into the police handling of a series of notorious cases.

How the scandal unfolded.

How the scandal unfolded.

The Herald Sun understands several major criminals, including jailed kingpin Tony Mokbel, convicted killer Faruk Orman and a jailed drug figure, are considering their legal options because of the possible contamination of their cases.

Mokbel, who is serving at least 22 years for drug trafficking, has legal advice that the informer crisis could found a successful appeal against his conviction and sentence.

A Mokbel friend said: “We’ve been approached by some lawyers who say … he might knock off a few years, because they have conspired against him.”

Police had previously told the Office of Public Prosecutions more than a dozen cases may have been tainted by their handling of informers.

Mr Cartwright said: “Victoria Police acknowledges there were shortfalls in our management of human sources during that time (2005-09). We didn’t follow best practice and it’s important that lessons were learnt and they have been.”

Acting Chief Commissioner Tim Cartwright. Picture: MIKE KEATING

Acting Chief Commissioner Tim Cartwright. Picture: MIKE KEATING

But he said that the force and prosecutors had found no evidence of a contaminated trial at state level.

“In terms of the state in the last couple of years, there is no evidence at this stage of any threat to any conviction or any evidence of mistrial,” he said.

Any miscarriage of justice would be acted upon, he said.

Opposition police spokesman Ed O’Donohue said: “Daniel Andrews should urgently release a safe, redacted version of this report otherwise his lack of transparency could unfairly erode public confidence in our police force.”

Mr Andrews would not rule out releasing a redacted report.

“It’s my expectation that Victoria Police get on and implement each and every one of the recommendations that IBAC have made … given the history of this matter, I do hope to have more to say soon.

“But at the same time we do need to be very careful.”

He would not be drawn on why a key source was not interviewed by IBAC.