It’s all about the terror in the papers today, The Australian leading with breaking online news that the most feared terrorist in Asia,
Azahari bin Husin, the man responsible for the two Bali bombings and an attack
on the Australian embassy in Jakarta, has blown himself up after being caught
by police in East Java following months of
surveillance. Meanwhile, the paper’s front page has a picture of the terror
suspect
who was shot by police on Tuesday, Omar Baladjam,
in Sydney’s west. The photo of
Baladjam, lying the ground with a bullet to the neck, was taken with a digital
camera by a canny local resident who, naturally, dashed from the shower when he heard the
shots, to catch a piece of the action.

Under The Oz‘s
lead headline, “Terror link to radical sheiks,”
the paper says it’s learned that at least six of the nine men charged with
terror-related offences in Melbourne this week have been devotees of
controversial Melbourne cleric Sheik Mohammed Omran and his group, the Ahlus
Sunnah Wal-Jamaah Association. And there’s an artist’s sketch of the only
Caucasian among the arrested, Shane Gregory Kent, who, says the paper, was a
student of jihad.

“Enough to build 15 bombs,” says The Sydney Morning Herald‘s front page, with news from police that the Sydney
arm of the alleged Islamic terrorist group raided this week had stockpiled
enough chemicals to make at least 15 large bombs. And in international terror news,
the paper reports that at least 53 people were killed in the blasts that rocked
three hotels in the Jordanian capital today, with one police official saying the attacks “carry the
trademark of al-Qaeda.” In non-terror news, the SMHreports that every year, about 80 NSW juries fail to reach a unanimous verdict,
with about 25 of these the result of just one juror “playing lone
ranger.”

“Secret lives of terror suspects,” blares the front page of The Daily Telegraph,
with a report revealing the real-life drama of Australia’s terrorist
suspects’ everyday lives as electricians, panel beaters, rock singers,
would-be actors and
Muslim clerics living on welfare, while they allegedly plotted to wage
war against the
community that supported them.

The Age front page
has a photo of Sheik Fehmi Naji el-Imam at the Preston
mosque where some of the Melbourne
terror suspects worshipped regularly. These men were by and large from Lebanese migrant families who had fled a brutal civil
war and whose their parents were hard-working and respected, says the report.
“The relatives who spoke to The Age
yesterday universally protested the defendants’ innocence and expressed
disbelief.” And in local news, the paper reports that the Anglican Church has
been negotiating with advertising agency Amity Media to place a massive
billboard on scaffolding surrounding the spire of the heritage-listed St
Paul’s Cathedral.

Back to terror, and an office tower housing hundreds of
public servants was among the possible targets of the alleged terror plot
foiled by raids this week, reports the Herald
Sun
.
Police found a map of the Casselden Place
building – the Commonwealth Government’s main offices in Melbourne
– during searches linked to nine Victorians now in custody facing terrorism
charges.

That same Melbourne office tower makes front page headlines
in The Advertiser, while in local
news, South Australia’s Infrastructure Minister Patrick Conlon has called on
local councils to stop “bickering” and help co-ordinate stormwater management
projects, after the township of Virginia was inundated with floodwaters when the Gawler River burst its banks.

The Canberra
community is rallying around the Koomarri Association, reports The Canberra Times,
after an
apparently deliberately lit fire gutted the organisation’s new,
community-funded, volunteer-built building yesterday. Koomarri provides
employment and support for people with intellectual and other
disabilities and runs
seven commercially viable businesses staffed by intellectually disabled
people.

“Terror vote deadline,” says The Courier-Mail,
with the report that Federal Government will attempt to ram its tough new
terror laws through Parliament today. The government is expected to force the
vote on the Opposition by cutting off debate, although Labor has foreshadowed
amendments to parts of the Bill dealing with sedition. And with a photo of a
man of Middle Eastern descent being searched by police, the paper reports that a
cordon was thrown around Sydney’s Liverpool Hospital yesterday, where wounded terror
suspect Omar Baladjam was charged at a bedside court hearing.

Meanwhile, all this terror talk has taken its toll on Tassie, reports The Mercury,
where a dress-up day at a Tasmanian high school sparked a terror alert
yesterday with armed police surrounding the school after two 16-year-olds were
spotted entering the school with guns – part of their fancy dress effort, it
turns out.

Cheap flights are the big news up north, with the Northern Territory News front page declaring Territorians can get return flights to Singapore for $215 from
today, with low-cost Asian airline Tiger Airways announcing its first entry
into the Australian market yesterday – destination, Darwin.

And WA’s $700 million live-sheep export trade could face
extinction as a result of a landmark decision to lay animal cruelty charges
over the transport of sheep from Fremantle to Kuwait, says The West
Australian
, which “understands”
it will be alleged sheep on the MV Al Kuwait were treated cruelly in a manner
likely to cause harm when, in November 2003, more than 1,000 of the 100,000 sheep on the ship died
during the fortnight-long voyage. It’s also “understood” the directors of the
export company will be charged.