Jihadists 'planned maximum casualties' at Sydney army base

Melbourne's Supreme Court heard the men, who have been linked with Islamic extremists in Somalia, planned to continue their rampage at Sydney's Holsworthy army barracks until they were killed or captured.

Crown prosecutor Nick Robinson said the plot was hatched between February and August 4 last year, when the five were arrested in a swoop involving hundreds of police in Melbourne.

He said one of the accused visited Somalia to seek a fatwa, or religious decree, for the attack, adding they had condemned Australia's involvement in the war in Afghanistan and believed the country was oppressing Muslims.

Robinson added that the men believed Islam was under attack from several countries, including Australia, and wanted to advance their religion as they perceived it.

Saney Edow Aweys, 27, Yacqub Khayre, 23, Abdirahmin Mohamud Ahmed, 26, Wissam Mahmoud Fattal, 34, and Nayef El Sayed, 26, have all pleaded not guilty to conspiring to do acts in preparation for, or planning, a terrorist act.

Robinson also said Fattal had visited Holsworthy and described it as an easy target. Police have said the attack would have been the worst extremist incident in Australian history.

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