A PhD student working at the University of NSW has been arrested by police after a notebook allegedly containing terrorist ideology inspired by Islamic State was found on the eastern suburbs campus.
Police on Friday said a colleague of 25-year-old Sri Lankan national Mohamed Kamer Nilar Nizamdeen found the notebook filled with locations and individuals that would be the subject of an alleged terrorist plot.
It is understood that the alleged potential attack was planned for several months away and involved iconic landmarks in Sydney.
Police were called to the university, where Mr Nizamdeen works as an IT contractor, on Thursday and arrested and charged him with making a document connected to the preparation of a terrorist act.
“They are symbolic locations within Sydney,” said NSW Police’s Detective acting Superintendent Mick Sheehy at a press conference on Friday morning.
The PhD student was acting as a lone wolf, but “from documentation, he would affiliate with ISIS”, acting Superintendent Sheehy said.
A Sri Lankan national is alleged to have had a notebook containing Islamic State-inspired ideology, and was allegedly planning a terrorist attack involving iconic landmarks.
Mr Nizamdeen has been in Australia on a student visa for several years completing his post-graduate studies.
He has returned to his native Sri Lanka and “other areas”, although police refused to specify where exactly he had visited.
After arresting him at the university during the day, police executed a search warrant on his Zetland address in the middle of the night and a number of electronic items were seized for further examination.
Police plan to conduct further searches on campus on Friday.
Australian Federal Police’s Detective Superintendent Michael McTiernan told reporters that, while there was no ongoing threat to the public, the allegations of what was contained in the notebook were extremely serious.
“The charges laid against this person are serious and should not be underestimated. Today’s result highlights the critical role the community plays in assisting us combat terrorism,” he said.
Mr Nizamdeen, who is understood to have no family ties in Australia, briefly faced Waverley Local Court on Friday morning. He did not apply for bail and it was formally refused.
He will return to court in eight weeks.