It was hard to believe the awkward, spotty youth sitting in the Central Local Court on Thursday was capable of planning such a horrific act of public violence.

Wearing a blue fleecy tracksuit and an obvious sense of unease at the many pairs of eyes focused in his direction, 22-year-old Omarjan Azari looked more like a teenager accused of shoplifting than a man who had planned the “random selection of persons to rather gruesomely execute.”

The morning for Mr Azari began with a shock – a shock shared by millions of Australians as 800 police mounted what has been billed as Australia’s largest counterterrorism operation.

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