New Zealand man faces Melbourne court charged with attempting to join war in Syria

A man has been charged over his alleged attempt to join the war in Syria.

Amin Mohamed, 23, appeared before Melbourne Magistrates Court on Friday.

Police allege Mr Mohamed prepared to go to Syria last September "with intent to engage ... in armed hostilities".

According to charge sheets tendered to the court, he allegedly obtained a mobile phone number under a false name and applied for a New Zealand passport to enter Syria.

He also allegedly bought a plane ticket to Istanbul and obtained contact details of Mohammed Ali Baryalei, also known as Abu Omar, in Turkey to help him travel from Turkey to Syria.

It is believed the New Zealand citizen’s passport was cancelled, which led to him being sent to Villawood immigration detention centre in Sydney. Australian Federal Police then discovered the offences he allegedly committed in Victoria.

Mr Mohamed has been charged with four counts of preparing to commit an offence under the Crimes (Foreign Incursions and Recruitment) Act 1978. The crime carries a maximum penalty of 20 years’ imprisonment.

He may be transferred to Maryibynong detention centre, his lawyer Paul Jansen said.

Mr Mohamed will next appear in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on July 21.

Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation director general David Irvine told a Senate estimates hearing on Thursday that as many as 12 Australians had died fighting in Syria.

Most of those who died were young Muslim men, including several from Melbourne.

He said about 150 citizens were being monitored in relation fighting or planning to fight in foreign conflicts.

He said ASIO had cancelled the passports of people who were suspected of supporting, providing materials or seeking to recruit or be recruited into the foreign fighters in Syria.

It is alleged that Hamdi Alqudsi - who police believe is involved in an illegal scheme to send young Australian men to Syria to fight with terrorists - gave Mr Mohammed the man's contact details.

Mr Alqudsi last year became the first Australian charged under the foreign incursion offences since the conflict in Syria began.

One of the men Mr Alqudsi allegedly recruited, 23-year-old Amin Iman Mohamad from Lidcombe, was arrested at Brisbane Airport in December. He was charged with preparing to engage in foreign hostile activities.

With Nino Bucci, Rachel Olding, AAP

This story New Zealand man faces Melbourne court charged with attempting to join war in Syria first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.