A Sydney man accused of hatching a terrorist plot to execute random victims allegedly conspired with a reported Islamic State recruiter.

A fanatical Sydney man arrested as part of unprecedented counter-terrorism raids plotted to execute victims chosen at random, a court has heard.

Omarjan Azari, from Guildford in Sydney’s west, was taken into custody as NSW Police and federal officers raided properties across the city before dawn on Thursday.

He is now behind bars following a brief appearance in Sydney’s Central Local Court.

Court papers allege the 22-year-old conspired with Mohammad Baryalei and others “to do acts in preparation for, or planning, a terrorist act (or acts)”.

Baryalei has been identified in media reports as a Kings Cross bouncer responsible for recruiting at least half of the 60 Australians currently fighting in foreign conflicts with Islamic State.

Prosecutor Michael Allnutt said Azari’s plans, designed to “shock” and “horrify” the community, involved the “random selection of persons to rather gruesomely execute”.

He said the “unusual level of fanaticism” involved, as well as Azari’s access to cash, cast doubt on whether he would comply with court orders.

Azari has been charged with acting in preparation for a terrorist act, a charge defence barrister Steven Boland said related to a single conversation.

“The allegation is based on one phone call,” Mr Boland said.

Court papers suggest the plotting began on May 8 and the court heard Azari knew he was under police surveillance.

Extra sheriffs guarded Azari in the dock before his lawyer requested he be returned to the cells.

Azari did not apply for bail and it was formally refused before he was whisked from the court, seated in the back of unmarked 4WD with his head between his legs.

Azari is among 15 people detained during the largest counter-terrorism operation in the nation’s history.

The operation followed Australia’s outgoing spy chief, ASIO director David Irvine, raising the terror alert level to “high” amid fears of an attack on home soil last Friday.

An arrest warrant was issued last week for Baryalei for alleged terrorist activities.

His parents have told the ABC that their son is living peacefully in Turkey.