“We woke to shouting”: Neighbours on the terror raids in Hallam. Photo: Eddie Jim
Five arrested in Melbourne counter-terrorism raids
The man charged with Anzac terror
When one resident of George Chudleigh Drive in Hallam woke to loud arguing between two men at 3.30am on Saturday morning, she glanced out her window – and saw at least six men, all dressed in black, carrying torches and weapons.
“There was a guy keeping watch out the front the whole time,” she said. ”There was a guy looking out the front door all the time.
“And then we sort of thought he looked at us, so we moved windows.”
The witness, who spoke on condition of anonymity, quickly woke her mother, who was sleeping downstairs.
“They came and woke me up, they said, ‘don’t turn any lights in the house on now Mum, we need to call the police now’,” said the woman.
The mother called police at 3.50amand they quickly swarmed the scene – breaking the glass on the lounge room to throw flashbangs in before smashing down the door with a battering ram, according to another witness.
“I thought there was a bit of a struggle for two to three minutes,” said one of the witnesses.
“After that they got one guy out and the rest of them must have been sitting in the house. They did not take everyone away, they just took one guy away.”
Sevdet Besim faced court on Saturday afternoon charged with one count of conspiring to commit a terrorism offence.
Police were still at the address at midday, by which time they had removed several large boxes and computer hardware from the house.
Neighbours said the occupants of Mr Besim’s house lived there with their four children, including Mr Besim.
Neighbours described the parents as warm, friendly and community-minded.
Witnesses to the raids said the four sons “had the usual trouble with motorbikes and cars that young boys get into”.
Two of the sons had recently grown long beards, one neighbour said.
In nearby Narre Warren North, workmen were seen patching up a window that had was allegedly smashed by police in the raids, which took place at seven properties in Melbourne’s south-east simultaneously.
A next door neighbour, Grant, who declined to give his last name, said he was woken by the sound of smashing glass and yelling.
“We heard yelling, and then we saw flashbangs going off, we could see the light, and hear smoke alarms going off.
“We could just hear yelling.
“We have lived here for roughly eight years, and they have been our neighbours the whole time. Seriously never had any issues with them, they have been great neighbours. The son … he’s helped me fix the fence, they bring our bins up for us. We have even said to our kids if anything ever happened to us they could go next door and they’d help.”
It is understood the family, who are of Afghani background, had five children – three brothers, two of whom have moved out, and two sisters who still live at home.
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