Melbourne: Christmas Day Terror Averted
Police in Melbourne, Australia, have arrested five Muslims—four Australian-born Lebanese, and one Egyptian-born, all legal immigrants—for planning a series of massive attacks in the city on Christmas Day.
The plan—described as the “most substantial plot” in Australian history—included targeting several well-known sites in the city to cause death and destruction on December 25.
Police in Victoria were involved in joint counterterrorism raids in Melbourne’s north-west where five search warrants were executed as part of “Operation Kastelholm,” which also involved the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO).
In total, seven nonwhites were arrested, and police say that a core group of four—the Lebanese—intended to carry out an attack in Melbourne’s central business district “involving explosives and other weapons” on Christmas Day.
Victoria Police Commissioner Graham Ashton told media that the investigation had been running for a couple of weeks but said those arrested had been “persons of interest for some time.”
The identified targets included high profile locations around Federation Square and the surrounding area, including Swanston, Flinders, and Russell Streets, Flinders Street Station, and St Paul’s Cathedral.
So far, three of the Lebanese have been named: Abdullah Chaarani, 26, of Dallas; Hamza Abbas, 21, of Flemington, and Ahmed Mohamad, 24, of Meadow Heights, all of whom have been charged with planning a terrorist attack.
Read the rest at The New Observer.