The young faces of Islamic extremism in Australia: Somali man, 20, accused of plotting ISIS-inspired New Year's massacre 'boasted about his friendship with Curtis Cheng's 15-year-old killer'

  • Somali-Australian Muslim Ali Khalif Shire Ali, 20, arrested over terror plot
  • He allegedly planned to gun down revellers in Melbourne on New Year's?Eve????
  • Police allege he tried to get an automatic rifle to shoot in Federation Square
  • Ali also boasted about his friendship with the teenage killer of Curtis Cheng
  • Cheng was shot dead by radicalised jihadi Farhad Jabar, 15, in Parramatta ?

A young Somali-Australian accused of plotting an ISIS-inspired New Year's Eve attack on?Melbourne?was reportedly targeted by ASIO because of his links to a radicalised 15-year-old boy who killed Curtis Cheng.

Ali Khalif Shire Ali was dramatically arrested on Monday and charged with trying to obtain a semi-automatic rifle to gun down revellers in Federation Square.

The 20-year-old was well-connected to Australian jihadist circles including multiple other terror suspects and?extremist preacher Junaid Thorne.

Ali was also friends with Farhad Jabar, 15, who shot dead NSW police accountant Curtis Cheng outside the police centre in Parramatta in 2015.?

He once boasted to a group of Islamic extremists about how he had refused to speak to ASIO agents who offered him money for information about his links to Jabar.?

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Ali Khalif Shire Ali, accused of planning a New Year's Eve terror attack in Melbourne boasted about his friendship with Farhad Jabar, 15, (pictured) who shot dead NSW police worker Curtis Cheng  in Parramatta in 2015
Six months later in May 2016, Ali (R) was one of several Muslims led by Junaid Thorne (C) who refused to stand for a magistrate saying they 'stand for no one but Allah'

Ali Khalif Shire Ali (right) is accused of planning a New Year's Eve terror attack in Melbourne. He was targeted by police after boasting about his friendship with Farhad Jabar, 15, (left) who shot dead NSW police worker Curtis Cheng in Parramatta in 2015

Ali was dramatically arrested on Monday for?trying to obtain a semi-automatic rifle to gun down New Year's Eve revellers in Federation Square

Ali was dramatically arrested on Monday for?trying to obtain a semi-automatic rifle to gun down New Year's Eve revellers in Federation Square

Ali ?(in blue jacket) two years earlier claimed ASIO offered him $200 for every tip he gave them about extremist activity in his community, but he refused to dob in Muslims

Ali ?(in blue jacket) two years earlier claimed ASIO offered him $200 for every tip he gave them about extremist activity in his community, but he refused to dob in Muslims

Ali claimed agents offered him $200 for every tip he gave them about extremist activity in his community, but he refused to dob in Muslims because it was 'haram'.

'I know their tricks and whatever you say to them they will use as evidence against you,' Ali said.

'They start to get to the real questions, like who are your friends with, what do you think about ISIS, what are your thoughts about those groups.

'I stayed quiet, I didn't want to get my friends in trouble.'??

Ali made his ASIO claims at?the Government Intervention in the Muslim Community (GIMC) conference on November 14, 2015.

GIMC is run by fundamentalist Islamist group?Hizb Ut Tahrir, which advocates for a global caliphate based on Sharia law and is banned in dozens of countries but not Australia.

Ali made his ASIO claims at the Government Intervention in the Muslim Community conference on November 14, 2015,  run by?fundamentalist Islamist group Hizb Ut Tahrir

Ali made his ASIO claims at the Government Intervention in the Muslim Community conference on November 14, 2015, run by?fundamentalist Islamist group Hizb Ut Tahrir

Ali (back with hood up) was at the hearing for five men accused of trying to flee Australia by boat to fight with terrorists overseas

Ali (back with hood up) was at the hearing for five men accused of trying to flee Australia by boat to fight with terrorists overseas

Ali said they came to his house multiple times where his sister, who also spoke at the conference, lied and told them he wasn't there.

He said ASIO then called him on the phone and he met with agents twice at a local Nando's where they asked about his friends.

The then-18-year-old told the conference agents followed him to Swinburne University, where he used to study, and he got a text saying 'look to you left'.

'He was standing there a couple of meters away. I thought I was in a 007 movie. He called again and I had to pick up cos he was looking at me,' he said.

Ali claimed the agent then told him: ?'Ali, we know you are a good guy. We know you have knowledge of things that are happening.

'You know the thing happening in Parramatta... the shooting... and you're friends with certain people. We want you to get out in the community'.

'I knew then they wanted me to be an informant and I said 'no, get lost'.'

Ali said he told them informing on other Muslims was 'haram', meaning forbidden, and the agents said they would 'stop harassing him'.

The teenager claimed he was targeted because ASIO thought he was 'young and naive' and 'this is the new tactic they use for youngsters'.

Police allege Ali tried to obtain an automatic rifle to carry out the horrific act, inspired by radical Islamist propaganda produced by terrorist group al-Qaeda

Police allege Ali tried to obtain an automatic rifle to carry out the horrific act, inspired by radical Islamist propaganda produced by terrorist group al-Qaeda

The 20-year-old was charged with terrorism offences for allegedly planning to shoot 'as many people as he could' in Melbourne on New Year's Eve

The 20-year-old was charged with terrorism offences for allegedly planning to shoot 'as many people as he could' in Melbourne on New Year's Eve

Six months later in May 2016, Ali was one of several Muslims led by?Junaid Thorne who refused to stand for a magistrate saying they 'stand for no one but Allah'.

The hearing was for five men accused of trying to flee Australia by boat to fight with terrorists overseas.

In December 2016 he was caught driving without his L-Plates or a supervising driver and provided a false name to police.

Officers made him empty pockets and found a credit card with his real name, which he initially tried to pass off as his brother's, leading to his arrest.

Magistrate Geraldine Beattie fined him $1,900 and disqualified him from driving for three months in?Yass Local Court in March.

According to the Daily Telegraph, Ali is also believed to be friends with the son of convicted Islamic State terrorist Abdul Nacer Benbrika, as well as having links to the friends of teen terrorist Numan Haider.

Haider was killed with a single shot to the head after pulling a knife from his jacket and started stabbing two counter-terrorist police officers in a Melbourne station.

On Tuesday, Ali was dramatically arrested by?counter-terrorism police in tactical gear?in front of shocked onlookers outside a restaurant on a busy Melbourne street.

Police allege Ali tried to obtain an automatic rifle to carry out the horrific act, inspired by radical Islamist propaganda produced by terrorist group al-Qaeda.

The 'ISIS sympathiser' did not enter a bail when he appeared briefly in Melbourne Magistrates Court on Tuesday.?

Ali, who reportedly no longer has a formal name, was described by his boss at a local computer business as 'a very quiet guy'

Ali, who reportedly no longer has a formal name, was described by his boss at a local computer business as 'a very quiet guy'

The 20-year-old Muslim man can be seen being held down by the officers in front of shocked onlookers and outside a restaurant on a busy street moments after his arrest
The 20-year-old Muslim man can be seen being held down by the officers in front of shocked onlookers and outside a restaurant on a busy street moments after his arrest

The 20-year-old Muslim man can be seen being held down by the officers in front of shocked onlookers and outside a restaurant on a busy street moments after his arrest

Ali, who reportedly no longer has a formal name, was described by his boss at a local computer business as 'a very quiet guy'.

'It's very sad, it's a shock,' Warsame Hassan told the Herald Sun. 'If I had (noticed suspicious behaviour) then I would have told the police.'

The business has been raided and the computer Ali used has been seized by police.

It is believe they had been monitoring Ali for months, but his alleged radicalism has increased over time and police believe he was seeking out obtaining an automatic weapon.

He had recently dropped out of Swinburne University in Hawthorn, and was a regular visitor at the Virgin Mary mosque near his family home in Melbourne's west.

Members of the mosque described Ali's family as good members of the community.

It is believe they had been monitoring Ali for months, but his alleged radicalism has increased over time and police believe he was seeking out obtaining an automatic weapon

It is believe they had been monitoring Ali for months, but his alleged radicalism has increased over time and police believe he was seeking out obtaining an automatic weapon

The arrest followed raids on his home in Werribee, a relative's house in Meadow Heights and a computer business in nearby Footscray where he worked part-time. Officers returned to the home on Tuesday ?

The arrest followed raids on his home in Werribee, a relative's house in Meadow Heights and a computer business in nearby Footscray where he worked part-time. Officers returned to the home on Tuesday ?

Melbourne woman Jessica Karasmanis witnessed the dramatic moment Shire was arrested in Werribee, west of the CBD.

Ms Karasmanis told Daily Mail Australia she was stopped at a set of traffic lights when she spotted 'at least five men' dressed in heavy body armour holding down a man.

'They had his hands tied behind his backs and on the ground,' she said.?

'They stood him up and placed him behind the building.'?

Investigators returned to the suburban home in Werribee where Shire lived with his parents and brothers on Tuesday morning and remained there throughout the day?

Investigators returned to the suburban home in Werribee where Shire lived with his parents and brothers on Tuesday morning and remained there throughout the day?

The arrest followed raids on his home in Werribee, a relative's house in Meadow Heights and a computer business in nearby Footscray where he worked part-time.?

Investigators returned to the suburban home in Werribee where Shire lived with his parents and brothers on Tuesday morning and remained there throughout the day.

Detectives were seen hauling bags of evidence out of the home.?

The practising Muslim was born in Australia, is an Australian citizen and his parents were from Somalia, Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton said on Tuesday.?

'The male is one of our high-risk persons of interest. We have been monitoring him for a very lengthy period of time,' he told reporters on Tuesday.?

Shire allegedly accessed a guidebook produced by al-Qaeda containing information on how to commit a terrorist act (Federation Square pictured on New Year's Eve in 2015)

Shire allegedly accessed a guidebook produced by al-Qaeda containing information on how to commit a terrorist act (Federation Square pictured on New Year's Eve in 2015)

Police allege the young Muslim terror suspect had tried to obtain an automatic rifle to carry out the act and was inspired by radical Islamist group Al-Qaeda (fighters pictured in 2014)

Police allege the young Muslim terror suspect had tried to obtain an automatic rifle to carry out the act and was inspired by radical Islamist group Al-Qaeda (fighters pictured in 2014)

Following the arrest federal Justice Minister Michael Keenan said the government does not target a specific ethnic group as part of its terror investigations.

'The Muslim community is not being targeted by the government,' he said.

'We'll go after individuals, we don't target a specific community, and we require the Muslim community to work with us.'

Described as an 'ISIL-sympathiser' by Mr Keenan, the alleged terrorist is being interviewed in relation to the offences of preparing to commit a terrorist attack and collecting documents to facilitate a terrorist act.

It's alleged the man accessed a guidebook produced by al-Qaeda containing information on how to commit a terrorist act and use firearms, guns and handguns and rifles.

Authorities were keen to stress that no firearm was obtained.

But if the attack had been successful the human cost would have been 'catastrophic ... horrendous', Mr Patton said.?

The practising Muslim was born in Australia, is an Australian citizen and his parents were from Somalia, Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton said on Tuesday

The practising Muslim was born in Australia, is an Australian citizen and his parents were from Somalia, Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton said on Tuesday

WHAT WE KNOW?

* He's an Australian-born, 20-year-old man.

* Allegedly plotted to obtain a firearm to 'shoot and kill as many people as he could' at Melbourne's Federation Square on New Year's Eve.

* Lives with his Somalia-born parents in Werribee, is a Muslim but not linked to any specific mosque.

* Police said he'd been 'high-risk person of interest' since early 2016 and claimed he would become 'energised' online when learning of overseas terrorist attacks.

* Allegedly obtained Al-Qaeda material through the internet and was an Islamic State sympathiser.

* Arrested on Monday by Victoria Police, Australian Federal Police and ASIO officers.

* Charged on Tuesday with planning to commit a terrorist attack and collecting documents to facilitate a terrorist act.

Source: Victoria Police, Australian Federal Police

The man is also believed to be associated with a group of Victorian extremists.

'We won't identify who they are. It is a very small community of extremist,' Mr Patton said.

'There is no ongoing threat posed in respect to New Year's Eve, Christmas or any other area.'

AFP Acting Deputy Commissioner Ian McCartney said the charges laid were 'serious'.

'One of the charges carries a maximum penalty of life in prison,' he said.

Since September 2014, when the national threat terrorism level was raised to 'probable', the AFP has worked with its state and territory partners to thwart a number of plots.

So far, 74 people have been charged as a result of 347 counter-terrorist investigations.

'I would like to reassure the people of Victoria that the teams in Victoria, but also around Australia, are working day and night. They are working 24/7 to keep Australia safe,' Mr McCartney said.?

In 2016, more than 500,000 revellers flocked to Melbourne's CBD to ring in the new year as tonnes of fireworks were shot from 22 city buildings.?

In 2016, more than 500,000 revellers flocked to Melbourne's CBD to ring in the new year as tonnes of fireworks were shot from 22 city buildings (pictured, 2015 celebrations)

In 2016, more than 500,000 revellers flocked to Melbourne's CBD to ring in the new year as tonnes of fireworks were shot from 22 city buildings (pictured, 2015 celebrations)

AFP Deputy Commissioner Ian McCartney, left, and Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton, right, at a press conference on Tuesday

AFP Deputy Commissioner Ian McCartney, left, and Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton, right, at a press conference on Tuesday

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