Melbourne, Feb.13 : A court here was told on Wednesday that a Muslim group was formed to carry out a jihad-style attack on the city, and it included targetting women and children.
Crown Prosecutor Richard Maidment was quoted by the Sydney Morning Herald as telling the Victoria Supreme Court that 12 Muslim males currently on trial were to carry out a violent jihad.
The group was led by 47-year-old Abdul Nacer Benbrika, a resident of Dallas in Melbourne's north, Maidment said.
The 12 men appearing before Justice Bernard Bongiorno, each face a charge of being a member of a terrorist organisation. They have all pleaded not guilty to this charge and to a string of other terrorism-related charges.
In addition to the charge of being a member of a terrorist group, the men's alleged spiritual leader Benbrika is charged with directing the group's activities.
The accused include Fadal Sayadi, Ahmed Raad, Aimen Joud, Abdullah Merhi, Amer Haddara, Shane Kent, Majed Raad, Hany Taha, Shoue Hammoud, Bassam Raad and Ezzit Raad. They are all aged between 22 and 32.
Over 25 barristers and solicitors are representing the accused, which is expected to go on for nine months.