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A Pakistani national with links to al-Qaida was seen carrying out surveillance on the Darwin to Adelaide rail link, it was learned last night.
Counter-terrorism sources said the man's links to al-Qaida were given to national authorities when he arrived in Australia.
He spent several days in Darwin last month.
During his stay, his movements were tracked by Federal counter-terrorism agents.
He was watched as he carried out checks on the rail link - including checking timetables, passengers and what cargo was carried on the line.
"He was definitely a person of interest," one source said yesterday.
"The rail link has been flagged as another potential terrorism target in the Territory."
The Australian Federal Police said last night they could "neither confirm or deny" the man had been watched during his time in Darwin.
National spy organisation ASIO last night refused to comment.
It is not known whether the suspect left the country through Darwin or another airport.
The latest revelations come less than a week after it was revealed NT police were keeping files on possible terrorist suspects.
It also comes in the middle of the Territory's involvement in the biggest counter-terrorism exercise held in Australia.
Mercury 04 involves thousands of police, army and other counter-terrorism agents around the country. NT police have refused to reveal the exact nature of the exercise but is believed to focus on an offshore oil rig and the port facilities. It is not the first time a Pakistani national has been caught carrying out surveillance on potential Australian targets. In 2003, counter-terrorism authorities picked up a Pakistani man, who spoke little or no English, on top of Melbourne's Rialto building. He had flown into the country days before. He had no luggage - only a GPS and a map of the city.
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