The Courier Mail

The extremist magazine police were reportedly searching for in terror raids this week has instructions on how to start bushfires in Australia, with a picture of Sydney "on fire".

Inspire is an English language magazine produced by Al Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula. Last year it featured a picture of the Sydney Opera House in a section on bombmaking.

Leah Farrall, Counter Terrorism Research Associate at the United States Studies Centre (University of Sydney), said the magazine was a “potent radicalisation tool” aimed at “converts to Islam and the younger generation of Muslims in western countries who may not speak Arabic”.

The Winter 2012 issue contains various instructions for terrorist activities and a section entitled ‘It is of your freedom to ignite a firebomb’.

The article describes the destruction caused by the Black Christmas 2001/02 bushfires in NSW and the ACT, when more than 100 houses were destroyed — although Inspire bumps the number up to more than 500.

There are detailed instructions on making ‘ember bombs’ and choosing the best conditions to start a firestorm and get a maximum number of casualties.

It also mentions the 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfires:

“These fires were destructive in the full sense of the word…. These fires ruined the dry before the green, exhausted lives and properties, wiped out a lot of farms and houses, destroyed thousands of trees that are used in manufacturing and created an atmosphere of terror and panic,” it reads.

“We mention such examples only to show the magnitude of the destructive impact that fires or firebombs make, to then ask the question: Is it possible for us to cause a similar destructive impact using a similar weapon?

“The answer is: Yes, it is possible. Even in a shorter time and with much bigger destructive impact.”

Anti-terrorism raids targeted 11 Melbourne homes on Wednesday, and a 23-year-old man is being held on suspicion of collecting or making documents likely to facilitate terrorist acts.

The joint raids by the AFP and Victorian police focussed on the al-Furqan Islamic centre in Springvale.

Ms Farrall said while Inspire “encourages individuals to attack” there were other manuals with more advanced and specific guidance.

“In some respects the magazine might be considered a stepping stone to other material,” she said.

“Significantly, bin Laden did not like the publication, nor it arguing for ‘individual jihad’ and rebuked those publishing it.”

Asked whether terror attacks were likely to come from vocal, known groups or from an entirely unknown source, Ms Farrall said:

“Being vocal is not always a sign of operational activity, although here too there can be further radicalisation resulting in terrorism-related activity or efforts to undertake an attack.

This article was originally published at The Courier Mail