Muslim family members and supporters of four men accused of planning to bomb Melbourne landmarks on Christmas Day have left court wearing full-body burqas.
Ahmed Mohamed, 25, and 27-year-old Abdullah Chaarani are among four men who faced Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Monday charged with preparing or planning a terrorist act in December 2016.
The named men are also charged with plotting a fire at a Melbourne mosque.
Supporters and relatives of the men were seen leaving the courthouse on Monday afternoon, dressed in black, full-length burqas amid a heavy police presence outside the building.
Family and supporters in burqas leave Melbourne Magistrates Court on Monday as two men face charges of planning to bomb Melbourne landmarks on Christmas Day
A family member of one of the men charged over alleged terror plot leaves the courthouse
A woman in blue leaves the Melbourne courthouse as four men face serious terror plot charges
High presence: Policemen guard Melbourne Magistrates Court ahead of Ahmed Mohamed, 25, and 27-year-old Abdullah Chaarani’s appearance to face more terrorism charges
Surrounded: Multiple police stood outside court on Monday morning before the two Muslim men faced charges over a fire at the Imam Ali Islamic Centre in November
Mohamed and Chaarani are set to be charged with an additional count each of engaging in a terrorist act over a fire at the Imam Ali Islamic Centre in November, the Australian Federal Police and Victorian authorities confirmed on Sunday.
A third man, 29-year-old Hatim Moukhaiber, appeared in court on Sunday charged with the same offence over an arson attack that destroyed the Fawkner centre in December.
It’s alleged Moukhaiber caused a serious fire at the centre on December 11.
On watch: Mohamed and Chaarani are accused of starting a fire at the Imam Ali Islamic Centre on November 25
These women in black burqas declined to speak with journalists outside the courthouse
Terrorist acts: Two men accused of planning to bomb Melbourne landmarks on Christmas Day are set to be charged with further terrorism offences over a fire at a mosque
Following the mosque attack in December, graffiti saying ‘The Islamic State’ in English and ‘The State the Islam’ in Arabic was sprayed on the outside wall of the centre
Mohamed and Chaarani are accused of starting another fire at the Imam Ali Islamic Centre some two weeks earlier on November 25.
Following the mosque attack in December, graffiti saying ‘The Islamic State’ in English and ‘The State the Islam’ in Arabic was sprayed on the outside wall of the centre.
‘That leads us to the conclusion … that is part of an ISIS-influenced or inspired attack,’ Victoria Police Counter Terrorism Command Assistant Commissioner Ross Guenther told media on Sunday.
It is alleged the men set fire to the building after being ‘inspired by Islamic State’
Three men will be charged with terrorist offences following the alleged arson of an Islamic Centre in Melbourne last year (pictured)
Separate to the arson attack, Mohamed and Chaarani are due to face a five-day committal hearing on Monday over their alleged Christmas Day terror plot with 23-year-old Ibrahim Abbas and his brother Hamza Abbas, 22.
The hearing will determine whether the men should stand trial on one charge each of preparing or planning a terrorist act between December 1 and December 22 last year.
Mohamed, Chaarani and the Abbas brothers are accused of planning to use an improvised explosive device and other weapons to target Flinders Street Station, Federation Square and St Paul’s Cathedral on Christmas Day.
Covered: Supporters left the court house with their identities completely concealed behind black clothing
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