Australia foils plane bomb plot
SYDNEY— Australia has foiled an Islamist-inspired “terrorist plot” to bring down an airplane with an improvised explosive following the arrest of four people in raids across Sydney. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the plot appeared to be “elaborate.” Sydney’s Daily Telegraph reported that a local route had been the objective.
SYDNEY— Australia has foiled a jihadist-inspired “terrorist plot” to bring down an airplane with an improvised explosive, authorities said on Sunday, after four people were arrested in raids across Sydney.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the plot appeared to be “elaborate” rather than planned by a lone wolf, as security was beefed up at major domestic and international airports across the nation.
“I can report last night that there has been a major joint counterterrorism operation to disrupt a terrorist plot to bring down an airplane.
“The threat of terrorism is very real. The disruption opera- tion, the efforts overnight have been very effective but there’s more work to do,” Turnbull told reporters.
Officials did not specify if the alleged plot involved a domestic or international flight, but Sydney’s Daily Telegraph reported that a local route had been the objective.
Australian Federal Police Commissioner Andrew Colvin described the plot as “Islamicinspired,” saying four men had been arrested in a series of raids across Sydney on Saturday.
“We do believe it is Islamicinspired terrorism. Exactly what is behind this is some- thing we need to investigate fully,” he said.
Colvin added that local authorities had received “credible information from partner agencies” about the claims but would not elaborate further or state if the men were on any watch list.
Of great interest to the police
“In recent days, law enforcement has become aware of information that suggested some people in Sydney were planning to commit a terrorist attack using an [ improvised explosive device],” he told reporters.
He added that several items “of great interest to police” had been seized in the raids but po- lice did not yet have a great deal of information on the specific attack, location, date or time. He said the investigation was expected to be “very long and protracted.”
“However, we’re investigating information indicating that the aviation industry was potentially a target of that attack.”
Colvin would not provide further details, but the Australian Broadcasting Corp. (ABC) said police found items that could be used to make a homemade bomb in one of the raided homes on Saturday.
Authorities believed they planned to smuggle the device onto a plane to blow it up, ABC added.
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EVIDENCE OF PLOT Police gather evidence outside a house in the inner Sydney suburb of Surry Hills after it was raided in a major joint counterterrorism operation.