Man charged over alleged plan for terror act on New Year's Eve in Melbourne
A 20-year-old man has been charged in Victoria after counter-terrorism raids on Monday, with police alleging he was involved in preparing for planning a terrorist act in Melbourne on New Year’s Eve.
Ali Ali is accused of preparing to commit a terrorist attack and collecting documents to facilitate a terrorist attack. During an appearance at Melbourne magistrates court on Tuesday afternoon he did not apply for bail and is to reappear for a committal mention on 13 March.
The Victoria police deputy commissioner Shane Patton said on Tuesday morning the suspect “was intending to use a firearm to shoot and kill as many people as he could in Federation Square area on New Year’s Eve”.
“The male is one of our high-risk persons of interest. We have been monitoring him for a very lengthy period of time. He’s an Australian citizen and he is of Somalian parents.”
In a joint counter-terrorism operation between state and federal police and intelligence agencies, searches were conducted at two residential properties in the south-western suburb of Werribee and the northern suburb of Meadow Heights, as well as a commercial property in Footscray, in Melbourne’s inner west.
The man was arrested just before 3pm on Monday. The search at his home would be “complex”, Patton said. “This male did not access a firearm. I think it is very important that I provide that reassurance to the public,” said Patton. “He has been subject to our active investigation and at no stage did he access a firearm … The arrest means that this threat has been removed.
“We are quite confident that there is no risk or no threat to the Victorian community now that we have removed him from society … there is no ongoing threat posed in respect to New Year’s Eve, Christmas or any other area.”
Police do not anticipate further arrests.
A man has been arrested over allegations he was planning a terrorist act in Melbourne on New Year’s Eve after an operation in Werribee, Meadow Heights and Footscray. Photograph: John Gollings