The French authorities have warned of a likely terrorist attack in Australia this year, according to the Herald Sun newspaper.
It said the French had confirmed that a terrorist cell in Sydney with plans to launch a devastating attack was broken up after the arrest of French terrorist suspect Willie Brigitte.
But they said a sleeper cell still existed in Australia, which is regarded as “weak” by extremist organisations.
Senior French sources fear the cell is planning a post-Iraq war attack and believe it is linked to little-known groups in the Russian region of Chechnya and the former Soviet state of Georgia.
“An attack in Australia is inevitable. I would not be surprised if something occurred in this year,” one senior official was quoted by the newspaper as saying.
Willie Brigitte had admitted that he trained under a Chechen explosives expert, Abu Salah, in a Lashkar-e-Toiba training camp in Pakistan.
Brigitte’s wife, Melanie Brown, a former Australian army signaller, was detained and questioned by French authorities last month and has returned to Sydney.
Lashkar-e-Toiba is a highly organised terrorist group and was banned by the Australian government late last year.
Brigitte named Sydney man Abu Hamza as LET’s representative in Australia and he claimed during interrogation that Salah had been due to arrive in Australia last year.