World Bulletin / News Desk
Australia's prime minister confirmed Friday that police have foiled a plot to detonate explosives in Melbourne around Christmas Day and five suspects remain in custody.
“As you know, overnight our police and security agencies have disrupted a very substantial terrorist plot,” Malcolm Turnbull told a press conference.
He said that Victoria state police and the Australian Federal Police arrested seven suspects, five of who remain in custody and searched five premises and would continue to do so.
"What they have uncovered is a plot to explode improvised explosive devices in central Melbourne in the area of Federation Square, on or about Christmas Day,” Turnbull added.
"This is one of the most substantial terrorist plots that have been disrupted over the last several years."
Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton was quoted by news broadcaster ABC as saying that police had recovered "the makings of an improvised explosive device”.
"Certainly these [people] are self-radicalised, we believe, but inspired by ISIS and ISIS propaganda," he said of the suspects, all in their 20s.
Meanwhile, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said police presence at large gatherings in Victoria would be intensified during the Christmas season.
Australia has been engaged in efforts to increase its anti-terror measures in recent years.
The country has banned citizens from traveling to Mosul in northern Iraq and Syria’s Raqqa province -- unless they have a "legitimate purpose" for being there -- and also passed legislation to strip dual nationals of citizenship if they are convicted or suspected of terrorism offenses.
Earlier this month, it passed new counter-terrorism measures that allow convicted terrorists to be kept in jail once their sentences expire if they continue to be deemed a risk.
The laws were vehemently opposed by the Greens and Liberal Democrats, with Senator David Leyonhjelm calling them an unacceptable erosion of civil liberties.
aaGüncelleme Tarihi: 23 Aralık 2016, 08:23