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Terror raids: Man released without charge

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A Sydney man arrested over a terror conspiracy to bring down a plane and then released without charge is shocked to have been associated with the allegations, his lawyer says.

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Abdul Merhi, 50, was one of four men taken into custody on Saturday when five Sydney properties were raided by NSW and federal police.

Authorities became aware of an alleged plot to “bring down” a plane using a home-made device and detained the men without charge under terror legislation.

Merhi was released about 7pm Tuesday and his solicitor, Moustafa Kheir, said he endured days of intense questioning.

“It’s a very serious allegation to have against you,” he said today.

“There’s a lot of stress associated there, and not knowing, and he was shocked that he was being questioned.

“It’s just unfathomable that he would be associated with anything like this.”

Merhi’s family was also in shock and his life had been “turned upside down”, Kheir added.

“He just wants to go back to as normal life as possible now.”

Kheir said he would review the actions of police.

“A lot of information was divulged, including his identity,” he said.

“That’s caused a lot of damage to him. We want to review all the information police had and what basis they had to do what they did.”

The three other men can be detained until Sunday evening under the terror legislation.

Police have spent days rifling through properties in Lakemba, Wiley Park, Punchbowl and Surry Hills in the search for evidence.

“This investigation remains ongoing, and further information will be provided at an appropriate time,” a joint statement from the AFP and NSW Police said on Wednesday.

While little has been officially confirmed about the allegations against the men, one theory is that the plan involved hiding a device inside a meat grinder.

Etihad Airways has confirmed it was helping Australian authorities with the investigation, amid reports the arrests were made after a tip-off from foreign intelligence services.

– AAP

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