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Australian planned holy war attacks, court told

Written by: Staff

SYDNEY, Apr 24 (Reuters) An Australian architect facing terrorism charges was planning to bomb either the nation's electricity grid or defence installations in Sydney, prosecutors told a court today.

Pakistan-born Faheem Khalid Lodhi has pleaded not guilty to four charges which include planning to detonate a home-made bomb at a number of targets in Sydney, Australia's largest city, as part of a holy war.

Prosecutors said that Lodhi had worked at three defence installations in Sydney and that intelligence agents and police had found what amounted to ''a terrorism manual'' when they searched his home in October 2003.

Prosecution lawyer Richard Maidment said in his opening statements to the New South Wales Supreme Court that 38 aerial photographs of defence sites and two maps of the country's electricity grid were also found.

Maidment said a 15-page note in Lodhi's handwriting was also discovered.

''It reveals what can only be fairly described as a terrorism manual for the manufacture of home-made poisons, explosives, detonators and incendiary devices,'' he told the court.

Maidment told the jury of six men and six women that the notes also included a translation from the Koran which said the purpose of violent jihad, or holy war, was ''to strike terror into the hearts of the enemy''.

Lodhi, 36, sat quietly dressed in a suit and tie as prosecutors opened their case against him. His lawyers will make their opening remarks on Wednesday and the case is expected to last for up to eight weeks.

Lodhi, who emigrated to Australia in 1996, was charged under tough new anti-terrorism laws introduced soon after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

Australia is a staunch US ally with troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan but has never suffered a major peacetime attack on home soil.

In June 2004, British-born Muslim convert Jack Roche became the first Australian to be convicted under the new laws and was sentenced to 9 years in jail for conspiring to bomb the Israeli embassy in Canberra.


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