A married teenage couple has been charged with planning to carry out a terror attack in Sydney. Sameh Bayda and Alo-Bridget Namoa, both 19, are accused of “conspiracy to do an act or acts in preparation for, or planning, a terrorist act or acts”. The charge carries a maximum penalty of life in prison, the Australian Federal Police said.

Sameh Bayda, 19, and Alo-Bridget Namoa, 19, did not appear before the court via video link from their respective jails to face charges of conspiracy to do an act or acts in preparation for, or planning, a terrorist act or acts.

Bayda is already accused of collecting documents in Arabic containing instructions on how to make an improvised explosive device and how to carry out a stabbing attack. Namoa, a Muslim convert of Catholic-Tongan heritage, is accused of recklessly possessing a hunting knife and Islamic flag, as well as instructions in Arabic on how to make a detonator for an improvised explosive device.

They have been in custody since the beginning of last year. Namoa was also previously convicted for refusing to answer questions about her husband’s charges in the NSW Crime Commission.

In a statement, NSW Police said the couple had their charges upgraded as part of an ongoing investigation known as Operation Chillon.

“Today’s charges follows an extensive investigation by officers from the NSW Joint Counter Terrorism Team and ongoing consultation with the Commonwealth DPP,” NSW Police said.

“The charge carries a penalty of life imprisonment.”

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