At least 15 suspects were detained in what Australian officials are calling the country’s biggest anti-terror operation.
PM Tony Abbott said a senior Australian Islamic State militant had called for “demonstration killings” in the name of Allah which included public beheadings of “infidels”.
About 800 Australian police officers were involved in what was the country’s largest counterterrorism operation, Federal Police Deputy Commissioner Andrew Colvin said. Authorities detained 15 people and raided more than a dozen properties across Sydney.
“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,” he added.
Police have issued an arrest warrant for a former Sydney nightclub bouncer, Mohammad Ali Baryalei, 33, who is suspected to be Australia’s most senior ISIS member.
One man detained in the raid, 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” execute 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.
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