Sydney was just hours away from terror attack

Sydney was just hours from an alleged terrorist attack on Tuesday - stopped, police say, by the arrest of these two men to prevent someone being killed at random, probably with a knife.


The counter terrorist squad searched their Fairfield home, finding a hunting knife, a machete, an Islamic State terrorist flag, and a disturbing video featuring one of the men.

Mohammad Kiad, 25, and Omar Al-Kutobi, 24, have been named as the alleged new faces of Islamic terror in Australia.

7News has learned that both men were working as truck drivers for a company that handles Defence contracts - moving military equipment between bases, as well as delivering furniture around the state.

There are rumours that Kiad was sacked, only in the last few days.

7News has made numerous attempts to contact Santa Fe Wridgways, but they are refusing to confirm or deny any of the reports.

At 4pm on Tuesday, police raided a a granny flat at 20 Riverview Road in Fairfield - the pair lived together at the back.

(left) The building in Sydney's west where the raids took place. (right) Mohammad Kiad. Photo: AAP/Facebook
(left) The building in Sydney's west where the raids took place. (right) Mohammad Kiad. Photo: AAP/Facebook

Police cut the power to the property and the tenants thought it was a black out.

"It was a policeman... pointing pretty much a gun at me," neighbour Roberto Macatangay told 7News.

"Then the police ask me to put yourself down on the ground. That's what I did."

"I heard a loud hailer say several times ‘we're the police get out of the granny flat, leave the house,’" another neighbour said.

Inside the lair, amid the post-raid mess was a red-checked Arab scraf, and a prayer mat devoted to the name of Allah.

Both men have been charged with planning an act of terrorism, possibly a public beheading.

"We will allege that both of these men were preparing to do this act yesterday,” NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn said.

The NSW Police Deputy Commissioner and AFP Deputy Commissioner Michael Phelan address the media in Sydney. Photo: AAP
The NSW Police Deputy Commissioner and AFP Deputy Commissioner Michael Phelan address the media in Sydney. Photo: AAP

There were two weapons seized - a fishing knife, and a machete - plus a homemade Islamic State flag.

And as the Prime Minister revealed during Question Time, "a video recording of one suspect kneeling in front of the ISIL flag with the two knives whilst making a statement in Arabic."

"This is a serious problem, and I fear Madam Speaker it will get worse before it gets better," Mr Abbott said.

A set piece, of a type we have so often in Islamic State propaganda.

In their flat, there appears to be a box of video cables, and a makeshift lighting rig.

Terror den: Inside the Sydney granny flat that was raided on Tuesday. Photo: 7News
Terror den: Inside the Sydney granny flat that was raided on Tuesday. Photo: 7News

Omar Al-Kutobi, 24, an Iraqi, who recently received his Australian citizenship, was a truck driver, studying computer science.

Neighbours said he often spoke of bringing his mother and his brother over to Australia from Iraq.

Mohammad Kiad, 25, of Kuwait had arrived a year ago, with nursing credentials.

It's believed Kiad split from his wife last year, and moved from Auburn to live with Al-Kutobi, who had lived on the property for a few years.

Their fellow tenant says the pair were devoted Muslims, prayed five times a day, had always been friendly and considerate.

But that all changed five months ago, when they became withdrawn, and cut themselves off.

News of the alleged terror plot has come as a major surprise to Roberto Macatangay.

"I was shocked, terrified. That I had a neighbour like that. I couldn't believe it," Macatangay told 7News.

For one neighbour it is a mystery solved. She had a Christian cross and a picture of Jesus on her front door.

One day the cross vanished, while Jesus was dumped in the bin.

"But.. I don't ask them .. because I was scared," she told 7News.

The pair's court appearance on Wednesday morning was cancelled due to security concerns.



It has now been rescheduled for Thursday morning in a secure city court.

NSW Premier Mike Baird said the arrests are something we should be very grateful for.

"Certainly something catastrophic was avoided yesterday," Mr Baird said.

Especially of concern, was the fact that the two men were unknown to police.

"These men were not on our radar," Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn said.

Making it a much-welcomed tip-off that led police to the raid.

Two men have been arrested and police have seized a flag, machete and a hunting knife in anti-terror raids in Sydney on Wednesday. It's alleged the pair was planning to carry out an attack. Photo: AAP
Two men have been arrested and police have seized a flag, machete and a hunting knife in anti-terror raids in Sydney on Wednesday. It's alleged the pair was planning to carry out an attack. Photo: AAP

The timeline of events is just extraordinary from the police and intelligence point of view.

Senior 7News reporter Chris Reason has been told;


  • The knife was bought at 3pm on Tuesday

  • The video was recorded at 4pm

  • The raid occurred just before 4.30pm

Police said they believed the act was due to happen on Tuesday, so the assumption is that it was to take place late afternoon or evening.

It is claimed on the video that this alleged attack was all about revenge for Muslims killed in Chechenya, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria.


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