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Repatriated wife of IS fighter bailed after terror charge

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A New South Wales woman who was repatriated to Australia from a Syrian refugee camp has been granted bail after being charged with entering and remaining in parts of Syria that were under Islamic State control.

Mariam Raad, 31, was arrested on Thursday in Young, in the state's south-west, where she had been living since being returned in October.

Australian Federal Police and NSW Police investigators from the NSW Joint Counter Terrorism Team executed warrants at her home and a home in Parklea, in Sydney's north-west, where a relative lives.

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She was charged with entering, or remaining in, "declared areas" – in this case Syria, which was under the control of the terrorist group IS – in breach of federal law.

She faces up to 10 years in jail if convicted.

Raad faced Griffith Local Court via an audio-visual link on Friday after being held in custody in Wagga.

She was granted bail on Friday and was forced to surrender her passport.

Among 12 bail conditions, she was banned from contacting anyone in prison or associated with a terrorist group, barred from viewing or distributing material on things including terrorism and related propaganda, and cannot attempt to acquire a firearm.

She's due to appear at Young Local Court on March 15.

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Margaret Roles, the mayor of Hilltops Council, which oversees Young, said it wasn't known that Raad was in the community and declined to comment further as the matter is before the courts.

"We've been a diverse but inclusive community for a long time," Roles told AAP on Friday.

It will be alleged in court that Raad travelled to Syria in early 2014 to join her husband – Muhammad Zahab – who left Australia in 2013 and joined IS.

It will be further alleged Raad was aware of her husband's activities with IS and willingly travelled to the conflict region.

The husband, a former Sydney maths teacher who rose through the ranks of the terror outfit, is believed to have died in Syria in 2018.

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The woman was until last year living in the Al Roj Internally Displaced Persons camp in northern Syria, which has been under Kurdish control since the defeat of IS.

The investigation into the woman began when she was in Syria and continued after she returned.

The federal police commander tasked with monitoring terror risks said the joint counter-terrorism team would continue to investigate Australians returning from declared conflict areas.

"Individuals will be brought before the courts when evidence supports allegations that returned individuals have committed offences in conflict areas," Acting Assistant Commissioner Sandra Booth said on Thursday.

Raad was one of four women and 13 children repatriated from the Syrian camp to Sydney in October last year.

All of the women were married to IS fighters who are now dead or in jail.

The NSW Joint Counter Terrorism Team comprises members of the AFP, NSW Police, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation and the NSW Crime Commission.



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