A group of five devout Muslim men triggered a security scare at Sydney’s Lucas Heights nuclear reactor yesterday after two vehicles parked about 100m from the front security gate. The five Muslims, who were with two children, were interviewed by NSW and federal police for about 20 minutes after they were spotted near the highly sensitive site at 5.15pm.
Daily Telegraph Police quizzed the Muslim men about their movements, taking down particulars from each of them and checking their identifications. After the discussions, the Muslim men were allowed to go without charge, with police warning them that Lucas Heights is a protected Commonwealth facility controlled by the Australian Nuclear Science And Technology Organization.
But a police source raised the question of why the Muslim men — who had earlier been seen walking along a track near bushland off New Illawarra Rd — were at a location clearly marked as restricted Commonwealth land. “That’s the most concerning question and explains why so many police raced to the scene,” the source said.
Nine News reported that at least two of the men, wearing Islamic robes, were seen praying not long after they had been stopped by police. (Praying for the deaths of Australian unbelievers, no doubt)
It is believed police warned the men that trespassing in the restricted zone was potentially an offence that carries a $2000 maximum fine and/or up to six months in jail depending on the circumstances. A police spokesman said: “Following inquiries, all Muslim occupants of the vehicles were allowed to leave.”
The Lucas Heights facility is heavily protected and security has been progressively increased in the wake of several security scares and incidents in recent times involving bushwalkers and trail-bike riders. One unrelated example was a Muslim terror plot involving French Islamic convert Willie Brigitte in 2003.
The facility was also the focus of the foiled Pendennis terror plot involving Australian-born terrorist Mohamed Elomar (photo below), who was photographed proudly holding the severed heads of Syrian soldiers while fighting with Islamic State militants. He was arrested in 2005 and jailed for being the bombmaker in the Pendennis plot to blow up the nuclear reactor and the MCG.
The area is subject to restricted airspace and is bound by perimeter fencing, CCTV cameras, barriers and tyre-shredding road spikes. A huge steel protective barrier was built over the nuclear reactor in 2004 to protect its core if an aircraft was flown into it.
Dubbed the “chip basket”, the striking 30m-long feature, the first of its kind in the world, acts as a net to catch a terrorist-piloted aircraft. Personnel vetting, information security and technology measures are part of the security measures on the site, 31km southwest of Sydney.