A man claiming to be the father of two men charged over a terror plot in Melbourne says his sons are “good men” who wouldn’t even know how to use a weapon.
Armagan Eriklioglu told reporters outside his Campbellfield home in Melbourne’s north that his sons were not aggressive.
“They don’t even know how to use a weapon,” Mr Eriklioglu told Fairfax media on Tuesday.
“They are very quiet, they’re not wild, they’re not aggressive. We haven’t got no weapons, they [police] couldn’t find anything.
“I wanted to come out here and say it’s not true,” he said. “I don’t know where they [police] got this information from.”
Mr Eriklioglu rejected police suggestions his sons were influenced by Islamic State, saying: “No, no, they don’t like Islamic State.”
The pair, a 30-year-old from Dallas and a 26-year-old from Campbellfield, were arrested along with a 21-year-old man from Greenvale during dawn raids at their homes on Tuesday.
Police allege they were involved in a “chilling” ISIS-inspired Melbourne plot that allegedly aimed to kill as many people as possible using at least one semi-automatic rifle.
The trio are expected in court on Tuesday afternoon, each charged with one count of acting in preparation for, or planning of terrorist acts.
A neighbour of the 30-year-old man says he had become increasingly isolated in recent years, praying at home instead of attending the local Broadmeadows mosque.
“I have been not hanging with them now maybe two years,” Zubair Mohamed told ABC TV.
“Used to be we go and pray together and go and have a coffee. Since two years ago, they just pray themselves at home.
“He got a few friend and pray in the house. I don’t agree with that. We pray not for any group, only to the one god … I telling them ‘you guys doing something wrong. There is a mosque close by. We go pray in the mosque’.”
Mr Mohamed said the suspect was “not political, just a normal person”.
“I don’t see anything political. I don’t know what’s in his head.”
Police said the wives and children of the suspected terrorists were at the properties when raids were carried out.
A woman at the Dallas address where the 30-year-old man was arrested, declined to speak about details with reporters.
“I am not in the mood to talk,” she told the Herald Sun.
“I don’t know what happened.”
A strong police presence remained at each address.