Posted: 18 April, 2015
Teenagers arrested after alleged Islamic State style threat
Five teenagers arrested in counter terrorism raids were allegedly planning IS-inspired attacks on police at Anzac Day events in Melbourne.
An 18-year-old Hallam man has been charged with conspiracy to commit terrorist acts and is expected to appear in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Saturday afternoon.
Counter-terrorism investigators raided properties across Melbourne's southeast early on Saturday morning, seizing knives and swords, based on information that attacks were imminent.
An 18-year-old from Hampton Park is also expected to be charged with offences relating to preparing for and acting on a terrorist act, Australian Federal Police acting Deputy Commissioner Neil Gaughan told reporters.
A third 18-year-old man from Narre Warren was arrested on weapons offences, while two more Narre Warren men, aged 18 and 19, are in custody assisting police.
The AFP and Victoria Police confirmed the five men were associates of Abdul Numan Haider, the teenager shot dead by police in Endeavour Hills last year after stabbing two officers.
Some of the men also attended the Al-Furqan Information Centre at Springvale, which has been investigated by counter-terrorism officers in the past.
Authorities have refused to give specific details of the alleged planned attacks but say police at Anzac activities around Melbourne were the immediate target.
"I will say the attacks related to edged weapons," Victoria Police Acting Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton said. "We believe the attacks could have occurred at any time in the next week."
Members of the public faced a similar risk as police, he said. While police say the threat is contained, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said there would be an increased visible police presence at Anzac Day services and Victorians should have faith in those arrangements.
He also urged people to avoid making judgments about community members or becoming fearful of others. "These people arrested today are not people of faith, they don't represent any culture," he said.
"This is not an issue of how you pray or where you were born. This is not about those issues. "This is simply evil." Victoria Police Acting Chief Commissioner Tim Cartwright said racism and prejudice-motivated attacks would not be tolerated.
More than 200 police were involved in the raids across Narre Warren, Hampton Park, Hallam and Eumemmerring about 3am.
Police were still at a number of properties in those areas on Saturday afternoon.
Mr Cartwright said three of the five men had been treated for minor injuries received during the morning raids.