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Australian Police: Raids Thwarted Beheading Plot

AP

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

The council did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment. On its website, it says proposals to expand government surveillance powers would invade privacy. It also denounces the Islamic State group, saying there "is nothing Islamic about their murderous actions."

A second man was charged Thursday night in connection with the raids. The 24-year-old, whom police didn’t name, was charged with possessing ammunition without a license and unauthorized possession of a prohibited weapon. He was released on bail and ordered to appear in court next week.

The Australian Security Intelligence Organization’s director-general, David Irvine, said the threat of terrorism in the country has been rising over the past year, mainly due to Australians joining the Islamic State movement to fight in Syria and Iraq.

Some terrorism experts question, however, whether the extremist group has the capacity to organize a major terror campaign in Australia, far from its base.

Police declined to reveal exact details of the attack they believe was being plotted. New South Wales Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said only that it was to be carried out against a member of the public on the street and was at "a very high level."

"Right now is a time for calm," Scipione said. "We need to let people know that they are safe, and certainly from our perspective, we know that the work this morning will ensure that all of those plans that may have been on foot have been thwarted."

A separate series of raids was conducted Thursday in the eastern cities of Brisbane and Logan. Last week, Australian police arrested two men in Brisbane for allegedly preparing to fight in Syria, recruiting jihadists and raising money for the al-Qaida offshoot group Jabhat al-Nusra, also known as the Nusra Front.

Federal Police Deputy Commissioner Andrew Colvin said the raids conducted in Brisbane on Thursday were a follow-up to that operation. Queensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said the operations in Sydney and Brisbane were linked, but declined to release details.

Police said at the time there was no terrorist threat to the Group of 20 leaders’ summit to be hosted by Brisbane in November that will bring President Barack Obama and other leaders of the world’s 20 biggest economies to the Queensland state capital.

Australia has estimated that about 60 of its citizens are fighting for the Islamic State group and the Nusra Front in Iraq and Syria. Another 15 Australian fighters have been killed, including two young suicide bombers.

The government has said it believes about 100 Australians are actively supporting extremist groups from within Australia, recruiting fighters and grooming suicide bomber candidates as well as providing funds and equipment.

A Sydney money transfer business owned by the sister and brother-in-law of convicted terrorist Khaled Sharrouf, an Islamic State fighter, had its license suspended this week on suspicion it had been sending 1 million Australian dollars ($900,000) a month to the Middle East to finance terrorism, said John Schimdt, chief executive of the industry regulator and corruption watchdog AUSTRAC.

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Tags:
AustraliaIslamIslamist MilitantsTerrorism
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