'Bulls**t!': Terror accused's father defends charged son

ONE of the men in police custody over an alleged terror plot to smuggle a bomb on board a plane has been described as "always smiling" and said to have "never been to a mosque in his life".

Khaled Merhi was taken into police custody during the anti-terror raid over the weekend along with former butcher Khaled Khayat, 50. Two other men are also being held and none have been charged.

Khaled Merhi's boss told The Daily Telegraph the former van driver had been behaving erratically in the days leading up to his arrest having allegedly racked up gambling debts.

"He kept not turning up so I told him I wasn't interested in employing him anymore," his employer said.

"He was always smiling and laughing, you'd never think he was capable of anything to do with terrorists."

Police outside the Surry Hills terrace house. Picture: Dylan Robinson
Police outside the Surry Hills terrace house. Picture: Dylan Robinson

One of the unnamed men in custody is believed to be related to Khaled Merhi. They are also reportedly related to Australian-born Islamic State fighter Ahmed Merhi.

Overnight, Khaled's father Omar, 76, broke his silence to say his son had "never been to a mosque in his life" and it was "bull***t that he wanted to blow up a plane".

"He works hard for his child and his girlfriend, who was always asking him for money, $150 here and there for jewellery and clothes, it was never enough, it felt like he was working to buy everything for her," he told The Daily Telegraph.

Security at Brisbane Airport has also been increased after a foiled terror plot in Sydney. Passengers queue to get through security on Sunday.
Security at Brisbane Airport has also been increased after a foiled terror plot in Sydney. Passengers queue to get through security on Sunday. Adam Head

Police have been granted seven days to carry out investigations on the four men in custody.

"It should be noted that the presumption of innocence applies to these persons," AFP said in a statement.

"Investigations remain ongoing and further information will be provided at an appropriate time."

News Corp Australia

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