4 ar­rested in Sydney counter-ter­ror raids

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Four peo­ple were ar­rested in a se­ries of raids across Sydney yes­ter­day which the prime min­is­ter said were car­ried out to foil plans for ter­ror­ist at­tacks in Aus­tralia. Armed po­lice stormed homes in at least four neigh­bor­hoods, in­clud­ing in the in­ner city.

“The New South Wales Joint Counter Ter­ror­ism Team has con­ducted mul­ti­ple searches across Sydney to­day, re­sult­ing in the ar­rest of four men,” po­lice said in a state­ment. “These searches and the broader in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­main on­go­ing, and fur­ther in­for­ma­tion will be made avail­able at the ap­pro­pri­ate time.” The Seven Net­work re­ported 40 riot squad of­fi­cers moved on one in­ner city home be­fore an ex­plo­sives team found a sus­pi­cious de­vice, al­though po­lice would not con­firm this.

TV footage showed a man with a ban­dage on his head and draped in a blan­ket be­ing led away by au­thor­i­ties. Na­tional broad­caster ABC quoted a woman as say­ing her son and hus­band were ar­rested in the raids, but de­nied they had links to ter­ror­ism. “I love Aus­tralia,” she said as she was led away to a car. Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull urged peo­ple to “re­main alert”.

“These op­er­a­tions are de­signed to dis­rupt and pre­vent plans to un­der­take ter­ror­ist at­tacks in Aus­tralia,” he said of the raids. “I have been kept closely briefed on the progress of the op­er­a­tions by the heads of our rel­e­vant se­cu­rity agen­cies. “How­ever, as the op­er­a­tions are on­go­ing, it is in­ap­pro­pri­ate to pro­vide fur­ther de­tail at this stage.” Aus­tralian of­fi­cials have grown in­creas­ingly con­cerned about the threat of ex­trem­ist at­tacks and have pre­vented 12 on home soil since Septem­ber 2014, with more than 60 peo­ple charged.

But five have taken place, mostly with guns, in­clud­ing a fa­tal shootout in Mel­bourne in June claimed by the Is­lamic State group. In that in­ci­dent, a man of So­mali back­ground was killed in a gun bat­tle with po­lice when he opened fire fol­low­ing an hour-long stand­off af­ter tak­ing a woman hostage. It is al­leged 29year-old Yac­qub Khayre, linked to a 2009 ter­ror plot tar­get­ing an Aus­tralian army bar­racks, had first mur­dered a Chi­ne­se­born Aus­tralian man. —AFP

SYDNEY: Po­lice man guards a check point in the Sydney in­ner sub­urb of Surry Hills. —AFP

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