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Similar explosives used attempted australia attack

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7:35am (UK)
Australia terror evidence probed

Detectives have examined evidence seized in a string of raids on Tuesday in two Australian cities that police said headed off a major terror attack and led to the arrest of 17 suspects.

Chemicals believed to be of the same type used in the deadly July 7 London bombings were confiscated in the raids in Sydney and Melbourne, along with computers, documents and backpacks.

Victoria Police acting Deputy Commissioner Noel Ashby said police and security agencies were examining the evidence and could file more charges against nine men arrested in Melbourne and eight in Sydney.

"As a consequence of that (evidence) and as a consequence of the other information that we may obtain, we will then look at other criminal charges," he told reporters.

"There is an immense amount of detail that we need to look at, so we would say that there is every likelihood that other charges would be laid," he added.

One of the suspects was charged with terror offences and intent to murder during a special bedside hearing today at the hospital where he was recovering from a neck wound after being hit in a shoot-out with police.

Omar Baladjam was reported in stable condition at a heavily guarded hospital in western Sydney. He was ordered to appear in court on Friday with the seven other Sydney suspects.

Prosecutors said the Sydney and Melbourne cells were both led by 45-year-old firebrand cleric Abu Bakr, an Australian born in Algeria.

Abu Bakr made headlines earlier this year by calling Osama bin Laden a "good man."

Two suspects in Melbourne had their application to be released on bail rejected by magistrate Reg Marron, who said allegations they were prepared to kill innocent women and children were "extremely alarming." They were jailed until a hearing scheduled for January 31.

Copyright Press Association Ltd 2005, All Rights Reserved.

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