Australia foils Islamic State ‘demonstration killings’ plot
Thu 18 Sep 2014 at 08:33
NNA – Australia’s largest ever counter-terrorism raids on Thursday detained 15 people and foiled a plot by Islamic State jihadists to conduct “demonstration killings”, reportedly including beheading a member of the public on camera.
A major pre-dawn operation was carried out across Sydney and Brisbane by more than 800 officers acting on some 25 search warrants. One person has so far been charged with serious terrorism-related offences and was to appear in court later in the day.
At least one gun was seized.
The raids, which spanned multiple suburbs, came barely a week after Australia boosted the terror threat level to “high” for the first time in a decade on growing concern about militants returning from fighting in Iraq and Syria.
“Police believe that this group that we have executed this operation on today had the intention and had started to carry out planning to commit violent acts here in Australia,” federal police chief Andrew Colvin said.
“Those violent acts particularly related to random acts against members of the public.”
This prompted comparisons to the murder of British soldier Lee Rigby, who was hacked to death in a random attack on a street in England last year by two Muslim converts.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott said he had been briefed on intelligence that public executions had been ordered by IS militants.
“The exhortations, quite direct exhortations, were coming from an Australian who is apparently quite senior in ISIL to networks of support back in Australia to conduct demonstration killings here in this country,” he said.
“So this is not just suspicion, this is intent and that’s why the police and security agencies decided to act in the way they have.”
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation said court documents were expected to reveal that the plan involved snatching a random member of the public in Sydney, draping them in an Islamic State flag and beheading them on camera.
Asked whether this was the case, Colvin replied: “That allegation will relate to serious violence on a random member of the public here on the streets of NSW (the state of New South Wales).–AFP