Police raided several properties outside of Sydney, Australia, and arrested four people in connection with a planned terrorist attack on an airplane.
Australian Federal Police, NSW Police and the domestic spy agency ASIO jointly carried out the major counter terrorism operation on Saturday afternoon in the Sydney suburbs of Surry Hills, Lakemba, Wiley Park and Punchbowl.
“Four men have been taken into custody and are assisting police with their inquiries,” the AFP and NSW Police said in a joint statement following the raids.
Fairfax Media reports the raids were in relation to a terrorist cell “and a bomb plot involving aircraft”.
The Seven Network reports 40 riots squad officers stormed the Surry Hills terrace before the explosives team found a suspicious device. TV footage shows a man with a bandage on his head and draped in a blanket being led away by authorities.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has been briefed on the progress of the operation by security agency heads.
“These operations are designed to disrupt and prevent plans to undertake terrorist attacks in Australia,” the prime minister said in a statement. “My number one priority, and that of my government, is the safety and security of all Australians, and the public should be reassured that our security and intelligence agencies are working tirelessly to keep us safe.” The family who lived in the raided house on Cleveland Street in Surry Hills has been described as “perfectly nice and normal people” by a neighbour whose property backs onto theirs.
“We knew them to say hello to and they seemed nice,” the woman in her early 30s, who didn’t want to be identified, told AAP.
An elderly couple lived in the home, the neighbour said, and they had adult children.
The neighbour came home while the raid was underway and said there were “heaps” of police at the scene.
According to The Guardian, federal police had become aware of the potential attack and that the terrorists planned on using an “improvised device.”
Well, most bombs are “improvised.” It’s not something you go to to your local Walmart to buy. You have to wonder how they were thinking to get it past security. An electronic device of some kind? Certainly a strong possibility.
Australia has not been immune to “Lone Wolf” attacks in recent years. But does it really matter if one person is stabbed at a Hamburg supermarket or dozens killed in a rampage in Paris? The war is the same regardless of the body count. And we know that it will be rising in the immediate future.