A 16-year-old Sydney schoolgirl, arrested by Australian counter-terrorism police on Tuesday for allegedly helping a ISIS terror cell send thousands of dollars to an Australian jihadist fighting in Syria, had her bail denied in Parramatta children’s court today. The high school senior, who cannot be named due to her age, is alleged to have met 20-year-old Milad Atai in a local park where he gave her AU$5,000 ($3,793) to wire to Ahmed Merhi, who is said to have left Australia for Syria in 2014 to fight alongside the terrorist group. Over the past six months, Merhi has become known for using social media to exhort Australian Muslims to attack non-believers.
Atai is part of a group of alleged young ISIS supporters in Sydney suspected by police since mid-2014 of plotting terrorist attacks, procuring weapons, and grooming teenagers into jihadists. Atai was first arrested in Australia’s biggest ever counter-terrorism raids in September 2014, and remains under investigation over last year’s fatal shooting of police accountant Curtis Cheng at the Parramatta police headquarters.
The girl was unknown to police until her alleged friendship with Atai came to light during investigation into the Parramatta shooting. It is alleged she admitted to a police source that the proposed financial transaction was not the first in which she had been involved.