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Bomb-test video shown in court
THE accused head of a homegrown Muslim terror cell was secretly filmed by police testing a bomb built by an undercover agent from explosives and gelignitepacked in a plastic ice-cream container.
In the surveillance video played yesterday to a Victorian courtroom in Australia's biggest terror trial, Abdul Nacer Benbrika is shown by the undercover police officer how to set off the bomb on a bush track.
The video shows Mr Benbrika, dressed in a Muslim robe, and the undercover policeman identified only as Security Intelligence Officer 39, bending over the bomb and lighting the fuse. When the bomb fails to explode at the first try on the track at Mount Disappointment, about 60km north of Melbourne, they replace the fuse and light it.
They quickly walk away and a short time later the blue plastic ice-cream container packed with the explosive nitroprill and ignited with a stick of gelignite explodes in a large cloud of smoke.
In the video, captured by a camera hidden in a tree, Mr Benbrika and SIO39, who has a bushy black beard and black curly hair, are shown returning to the site of the explosion to inspect the results and then leaving.
The Victorian Supreme Court was told that SIO39, a member of Victoria Police's security intelligence unit, posed as a Turkish Muslim called Ahmet Sonmez to infiltrate the Melbourne group and befriend Mr Benbrika.
He told Mr Benbrika he could obtain large quantities of ammonium nitrate fertiliser from Tasmania and knew how to make bombs from it.
On October 6, 2004, he drove Mr Benbrika to Mt Disappointment for the demonstration. But in their secretly recorded conversation during the demonstration, Mr Benbrika appeared more interested in how long it would take, repeatedly telling SIO39 that he had a doctor's appointment and then had to collect his children from school.
"I hope it doesn't take a long time," Mr Benbrika says. "I have to pick up the kids from the school."
During yesterday's hearing, the jury of nine women and five men heard only SIO39's voice after the judge allowed him to give evidence from a remote location via an audio link to protect his identity.
The court has previously been told that Mr Benbrika asked SIO39 if he could obtain 500kg of fertiliser to use as explosives and how much it would take to blow up a house or a larger building.
The prosecution is alleging that Mr Benbrika and his 11 followers planned to carry out a terrorist strike on the 2005 AFL grand final or on Melbourne's Crown casino during grand prix week in 2006.
SIO39 told Mr van de Wiel that Mr Benbrika never asked him for the address where he stored explosives.
He agreed that Mr Benbrika told him Muslims were not allowed to engage in jihad in Australia because of a "treaty" between the Government and members of the Islamic community.