An Australian court on Friday ordered an 18-year-old Sydney man to be hospitalized for psychiatric assessment after he allegedly threatened an attack at the Sydney Opera House and claimed he was instructed to do so by Islamic State.
The incident allegedly took place on Thursday when police officers and security at the Opera House forecourt approached the backpack-carrying teen on reports he had been acting suspiciously.
"I'm here because ISIS has instructed me to carry out an attack," he reportedly said when stopped, lawyers told the Syndey court on Friday.
He was allegedly carrying two canisters of automotive fluid.
The incident comes the same week it was revealed that Islamic State had issued a directive in its online magazine for its followers to conduct "lone wolf attacks" targeting iconic attractions such as the Opera House and Bondi Beach.
"Stab them, shoot them, poison them, and run them down with your vehicles. Kill them wherever you find them," it said.
The man was detained without incident, police said in a statement earlier in the day. The teen's backpack was seized and is undergoing forensic examination.
Police also said he was interviewed and charged overnight with threatening to destroy or damage property. No terrorism-related charges were filed, however.
A search warrant was later carried out at the man’s home in Narwee, a southern suburb in the greater Sydney area, where a number of items were seized for examination, the New South Wales police said.
A psychologist had previously determined that the man ranked in the lowest percentile for adaptive cognitive abilities and the bottom 4 per cent in terms of socialization, the court heard.
According to defence lawyer Pierre de Dassel, the caseworkers had become concerned his mental health was worsening.
He appeared to be laughing and talking to himself and he had also reported hearing voices, the court heard.
"I believe I have to go to doctors because I'm not acting like myself," the crying man said under questioning by a magistrate via audio visual link.