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Man charged for attempting to join war in Syria

Amin Mohamed, 23, appeared in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Friday, charged over his alleged attempt to join the war in Syria.

Police allege he prepared to go to Syria last September ''with intent to engage … in armed hostilities''. According to his charge sheet, he allegedly obtained a mobile phone number under a false name and applied for a New Zealand passport to enter Syria.

He also allegedly bought a plane ticket to Istanbul, Turkey and obtained contact details of one Mohammed Ali Baryalei, also known as Abu Omar, in Turkey to help him travel to Syria.

It is believed the NZ passport was cancelled, which led to him being sent to Villawood Immigration Detention Centre. Federal police then discovered the alleged offences from Victoria.

Mr Mohamed has been charged with four counts of preparing to commit an offence under the Crimes (Foreign Incursions and Recruitment) Act 1978. The crime carries a maximum penalty of 20 years' imprisonment.

He may be transferred to Maribyrnong Immigration Transit Accommodation, his lawyer Paul Jansen said.

Mr Mohamed will next appear in court on July 21.

Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation director-general David Irvine told a Senate estimates hearing on Thursday that as many as 12 Australians had died fighting in Syria. Most were young Muslim men, including several from Melbourne.

He said about 150 citizens were being monitored for fighting or planning to fight in foreign conflicts. He said ASIO had cancelled the passports of people suspected of supporting the recruitment of foreign fighters for Syria.

With Nino Bucci, AAP

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