Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Thursday 28 October |
The Feast of Saints Simon and Jude Thaddeus
Aleteia logo
home iconNews
line break icon

Australian Police: Raids Thwarted Beheading Plot

AP

Aleteia - published on 09/18/14 - updated on 06/08/17

Raids came after intelligence that an Islamic State leader was calling on supporters to kill.

SYDNEY (AP) — Police on Thursday said they thwarted a plot to carry out beheadings in Australia by supporters of the radical Islamic State group. They raided more than a dozen properties across Sydney and were holding six people and have identified the suspected ringleader, officials said.

Nine other people were detained but were freed before the day was over.

The raids involving 800 federal and state police officers — the largest in the country’s history — came in response to intelligence that an Islamic State group leader in the Middle East was calling on Australian supporters to kill, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said.

Abbott was asked about reports that the detainees were planning to behead a random person in Sydney.

"That’s the intelligence we received," he told reporters. "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."

ISIL refers to the al-Qaida splinter group leading Sunni militants in Iraq and Syria, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which now calls itself simply Islamic State.

"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," Abbott said.

New South Wales police did not say why nine of the detained people were released, or whether they would face charges later.

The raids came just days after the country raised its terrorism threat to the second-highest level in response to the domestic threat posed by supporters of the Islamic State group. At the time, Abbott stressed that there was no information suggesting a terror attack was imminent.

Later Thursday, Attorney General George Brandis confirmed that a person born in Afghanistan who had spent time in Australia and is now working with the Islamic State group in the Middle East ordered supporters in Australia to behead people and videotape the killings.

"If the … police had not acted today, there is a likelihood that this would have happened," Brandis told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

Abbott and Brandis did not name the Australian. But Mohammad Ali Baryalei, who is believed to be Australia’s most senior member of the Islamic State group, was named as a co-conspirator in court documents filed Thursday. Police have issued an arrest warrant for Baryalei, a 33-year-old former Sydney nightclub bouncer.

One of those detained, 22-year-old Omarjan Azari of Sydney, appeared briefly in a Sydney court on Thursday.

Prosecutor Michael Allnutt said Azari was involved in a plan to "gruesomely" kill a randomly selected person — something that was "clearly designed to shock and horrify" the public. That plan involved an "unusual level of fanaticism," he said.

Azari is charged with conspiracy to prepare for a terrorist attack. The potential penalty was not immediately clear.

In court documents, Azari is accused of conspiring with Baryalei and others between May and September to prepare for a terrorist attack. Allnutt said the charge stemmed from the interception of a phone call a couple of days ago.

Azari did not apply for bail and did not enter a plea. His next court appearance was set for Nov. 13.

His attorney, Steve Boland, said during the hearing that the allegation against his client was based "on one phone call." He did not speak to reporters outside court.

Dozens of police spent Thursday searching Azari’s home and a car parked across the street from his house. One officer pulled a memo out of the car from the Australian National Imams Council outlining concerns about Australia’s new anti-terrorism proposals.

  • 1
  • 2
Tags:
AustraliaIslamIslamist MilitantsTerrorism
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
APPLE,APPLE TREE
J-P Mauro
How St. Jerome’s pun made an apple the “forbidden fruit”
2
VENERABLE SANDRA SABATTINI
Philip Kosloski
Meet Sandra Sabattini, a newly beatified 22-year-old
3
Fr. Patrick Briscoe, OP
4 Steps of prayer to learn from today’s Gospel
4
VON TRAPP FAMILY
John Burger
Member of the singing Von Trapp family dies in Vermont
5
GETAFE
Dolors Massot
Two sisters become nuns at the same time in Spain
6
devil
Philip Kosloski
Why Satan is known as the “accuser”
7
PADRE PIO
Philip Kosloski
Padre Pio replied to John Paul II’s letter with a miracle
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.