Australian officials carry out sweeping counter-terrorism raids
BRISBANE – NEWS – Australian police conducted massive anti-terrorism raids Thursday which official said were to to thwart planned acts of violence against the public. Hundreds of heavily armed police in Sydney and Brisbane stormed into homes and businesses before dawn and have detained at least 15 people.
Australian Federal Police Acting Commissioner Andrew Colvin states, “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. Those violent acts particularly related to random acts against members of the public.”
Local media in Australia say authorities had information that the group supported Islamic State and were planning attacks that included snatching someone and executing them on camera.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s government raised the security alert in Australia on September 12 2014. Based on advice from security and intelligence agencies, the Government has raised the National Terrorism Public Alert level from Medium to High. The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) independently determines the threat level.
The advice is not based on knowledge of a specific attack plan but rather a body of evidence that points to the increased likelihood of a terrorist attack in Australia.
Security and intelligence agencies are concerned about the increasing number of Australians working with, connected to, or inspired by terrorist groups such as ISIL, Jabhat al-Nusrah, and al-Qaeda. The threat they pose has been increasing for more than a year.
The first priority of the Government is to ensure the safety and security of its citizens.
Raising the alert level to High is designed to increase vigilance and raise awareness in the community.
While it is important the public are aware of the increased threat, Australians should continue to go about their lives.
Strong arrangements are in place to detect, prevent and respond to terrorism.
Video by Reuters