Sydney, Oct. 7 (ANI): A group of about 30 jihadists might still be active in Australia, a man, who trained them while establishing a local branch of the terror group Jemaah Islamiah (JI) in the country, has said.
Radical Islamic preacher Abdul Rahman Ayub, who was the deputy leader of JI in Australia with his twin brother Abdul Rahim, said they were sent by Indonesia's 'godfather of terrorism', Abu Bakar Bashir, in 1997 to train young radicals.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, he said that they stayed in Australia until 2002, and fled around the time of the Bali bombing.
In his first interview with an Australian journalist, Ayub said they had taught about 100 people about the violent form of jihad.
"When I came back from Australia in 2002, to my knowledge there were about 30 people [who were still radicals in Australia]," he said.
"I don't know about their recent development, whether they're still active or not, but I believe they are still there. Neither I nor ASIO know the exact figures, nor how active they are," he said.
He said that Australia was to be 'our financial base to financially support our struggle in Indonesia', though that plan had not worked out.
He said that they did recruit British immigrant and Muslim convert Jack Roche to JI, who was arrested and jailed in 2002 for conspiring to bomb the Israeli embassy in Canberra.
According to the repot, Ayub, who was once one of Australia's most wanted men, also admitted he wanted to make the country a financial hub for an attempt to overthrow the Indonesian state.
Ayub was trained in Afghanistan between 1986 and 1992 to fight as a mujahid, or holy warrior.
He was an expert in unarmed combat, and became a confidant of Bali bombers Hambali (whose wedding he helped pay for) and Mukhlas (whom he sparred with in kung fu). He said at one time he respected Bashir 'more than I respected my parents'.
Ayub was trained in Afghanistan between 1986 and 1992 to fight as a mujahid, or holy warrior. (ANI)