Raids in Brisbane, Sydney 'averted Australian tragedy'
AUTHORITIES believe raids on properties in Brisbane and Sydney have averted "a tragedy here on Australian soil".
Prime Minister Tony Abbot has revealed a group in Sydney was planning to abduct and behead someone in the name of the Middle Eastern terrorist group Islamic State.
"Quite direct exhortations were coming from an Australian who is apparently quite senior in ISIL to networks in Australia to conduct demonstration killings here in this country," he said.
"This is not just suspicion, this is intent."
Australian Federal Police acting commissioner Andrew Colvin said one person had been charged with serious terrorism offences and 14 others detained.
Mr Colvin said police acted after there was intelligence to suggest a violent attack was going to be carried out on random members of the public.
NSW Premier Mike Baird, speaking after the pre-dawn raids on Thursday, said authorities would continue to hunt down would-be terrorists.
"If you have any intent to bring overseas conflicts here, if you have any intent to threaten the security of this community, we will hunt you down," he said.
"Those that think they may be operating in dark corners, we are shining the light upon you."
Queensland police commissioner Ian Stewart said raids on three Brisbane houses related to the arrest of two men last week.
While no one else from Queensland has been arrested, the raids allegedly found evidence of one of the men planning "onshore terrorist action".
Mr Stewart said the raids had uncovered new information about an imminent threat that made the arrests last week "very timely."
"The information that has been gathered, particularly in the last week, has been very, very concerning," he said.
"Certainly the public should be confident the information that we've gathered, whilst it is concerning, we have been able to avert perhaps a tragedy here on Australian soil."
Mr Stewart declined to give details of the alleged Queensland terror attack, stating the details would come out in court.
He said Queensland police had been placed in a state of "hyper-vigilance" and had been told to wear their weapons.
The raids come six days after Australia's terror alert was lifted from medium to high.
- APN Newsdesk