ASIO ‘tracking Haider associates’

Written By komlim puldel on Minggu, 12 Oktober 2014 | 20.01

Numan Haider, who was shot dead after stabbing two police officers outside a Melbourne police station. Pictures: Facebook Source: Supplied

AUSTRALIA'S peak counter-terrorism intelligence agency is monitoring up to a dozen young Islamic men associated with Melbourne terror-suspect Numan Haider.

Friends of the dead teen said there was a simmering tension between Haider and counter-terrorism authorities in the days before the teen allegedly attacked two officers in a stabbing frenzy.

It comes amid reports last night that US forces based in Kuwait could be set to mobilise to Iraq as 10,000 Islamic State militants prepared for an assault on capital Baghdad.

In Victoria, police Deputy Commissioner Graham Ashton has warned local faith leaders will find it increasingly difficult to steer radicals away from extremism.

Mr Ashton told the Herald Sun extremists were not as integrated with the communities as they may have been in the past as the emerging band were much more influenced by global Jihadist propoganda on the net, friends and contacts fighting in Syria and Iraq who are posting on their exploits on social media.

Investigators probing the fatal shooting have quizzed Haider's friends and associates on the Afghani teens radicalisation in the weeks before he met the officers at the Endeavour Hill police station.

PREVIOUSLY: Shocking details emerge of Haider's attack on police

After his death police had said they were aware of Haider for about three months and were becoming concerned with his behaviour — particularly brandishing an Islamic State flag at the Dandenong shopping centre.

A close friend of Haider's said the 18-year-old was among a group of young Islamic men in Melbourne's South East ASIO had gathered intelligence on.

The friend said many of the men attended the Hallam Mosque or were connected to the controversial Al Furqan Islamic Center in Springvale.

Teenager Numan Haider stabbed two police officers before he was shot dead. Source: Supplied

In the days before the attack the friend said his bungalow and many of his friend's rooms were searched by counter-terrorism officers.

The friend said Haider was upset with the increased attention from authorities and angry his passport was cancelled.

He denied Haider had planned to travel to Syria to join ISIS but rather wanted to go to Afghanistan and find an "obedient wife".

Haider was also set to go on a trip of Europe with his parents which ASIO scuppered, telling them he would flee and go to Syria, he said.

His friend said Haider had not been involved in any ``radicalised'' group, describing him as ``generous'' and a ``nice guy''.

``We're being terrorised by ASIO,'' the friend said.

``We are not a threat. We're normal people.''

A masked youth attends a mosque service for Numan Haider. Picture: David Caird. Source: News Corp Australia

The teenager said his own application for a passport was under review and he had lost his job when ASIO visited his workplace.

``My parents don't trust me anymore,'' he said.

He claimed another friend's parents were told their son was going to Syria and would come back and ``chop off Aussies' heads''.

The Australian Federal Police said as Haider's death is the subject of a coronial inquiry they could not comment on the claims.

The friend's last contact with Haider was three days before he was shot dead after attacking two counter-terrorism officers outside the Endeavour Hills police station in Melbourne's southeast.

Among many complaints the friend made against ASIO, the young man said the intelligence agency had searched his bungalow without a warrant, believed his phone and car was bugged and believed he was being discriminated against.

He said he did not want to leave Australia at all, had no plans to fight in Syria and should not be labelled a homeland threat.

He denounced terrorism, saying that is not what he was being taught at his mosque.

Haider was once a member of Al Furqan, whose popularity among Muslim's youth has caused angst for community leaders.

The man, who did not want his name published, said Haider had not been to the centre in months.

He said the centre was a place to read books, play table tennis and be around other young religious people.

Al Furqan leader Harun Mehicevic would not comment when contacted by the Herald Sun.

anthony.dowsley@news.com.au

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