sydney opera house.jpg
Photograph: Photo by Jimmy Harris, used under CC BY

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.

Related stories

Latest news

New Romanian justice minister named after anti-corruption protests

Romanian Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu has named a former judge to be the country's next justice minister, after the previous office holder resigned under pressure from mass anti-corruption protests.

Le Pen's chief of staff indicted in European Parliament jobs probe

The chief of staff of Marine Le Pen, the far-right candidate for president in upcoming French elections, was indicted Wednesday over allegations of irregular reimbursements from the European Parliament, a judicial source told dpa.

Montenegrin police extradites Miodrag Jovic to Croatia

Montenegrin police reported on Wednesday that they extradited to Croatia Miodrag Jovic (48) from Glina, after whom Interpol Zagreb issued an arrest warrant.

Croatian minister attends CoMoCoSEE conference in Albania

Culture Minister Nina Obuljen Korzinek participated in a third conference of the Council of Ministers of Culture of South-Eastern Europe (CoMoCoSEE) that took place in Tirana on February 21-22.

New Somali president asks al-Shabaab to surrender to 'help' country

Somalia's newly elected President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo asked Islamist terrorist group al-Shabaab to surrender in order "to help rebuild" the conflict-ridden East African nation.

Serbia's EU negotiator says minority rights neglected

The head of the Serbia's European Union accession negotiation team, Tanja Miscevic, said in Novi Sad on Wednesday that minority rights had been neglected for many years and added that positive results in that regard cannot be achieved over night, the Beta news agency has reported. 

Scientists: Nearby star's 7 rocky planets are "best bet" for life

New analysis of telescope data shows a dwarf star just 40 light years from Earth has at least seven apparently rocky planets with potential to harbour water, an international team of scientists announced Wednesday.

Croatian PM receives EIB Vice-President

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic met on Wednesday with European Investment Bank (EIB) Vice-President Dario Scannapieco for talks on the bank's contribution to a new investment cycle in Croatia and its support to the Croatian government to implement key projects, a press release from the government's office said.

Bomb explodes outside police officer's home in Northern Ireland

A bomb exploded outside a police officer's home in Northern Ireland on Wednesday but there were no immediate reports of casualties.

Denmark to charge man with blasphemy over burning Koran

Danish prosecutors said Wednesday they have opened a rare blasphemy case against a man who videotaped himself burning a copy of the Koran.

South Africa to raise taxes for the wealthiest

South Africa will raise the income tax rate for the country's wealthiest to 45 per cent from 41 per cent, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan announced Wednesday.

Reformist Macron wins support of key centrist leader for French vote

France's reformist presidential hopeful, Emmanuel Macron, got a boost on Wednesday when he picked up the support of a party leader whose centrist constituency played a pivotal role in the last two presidential elections.