Monday, August 3, 2009

Australian police mount counter terrorism raids

Australian police say they have foiled a mission by Islamic terrorists to launch a suicide shoot-out on a military base in what they say would have been the worst terrorist attack on Australian soil. Police also say they have pinpointed an Australian terrorist cell supporting and directly involved in insurgency activity in the African country of Somalia.

In seven months of surveillance and a series of raids early today, codenamed Operation Neath, approximately 400 officers from the Australian Federal Police, Victoria Police and NSW Police made four arrests and are questioning several other people. The four arrested are all Australian citizens, police say. They are being interviewed and several others are assisting with inquiries, a joint press release said.

Victoria Police Commissioner Simon Overland said: "I can assure the Victorian community that we are doing everything in our power to ensure the state remains one of the safest in the country.''

Mr Overland said police acted after it "got to a point where we decided it was appropriate to act" and stressed the overwhelming number of Islamic people in Australia and Melbourne were valued members of the community, not terrorists.

He said he was disappointed by leaks that lead to reporting of the raids in The Australian newspaper. The newspaper this morning reported that national security agencies had uncovered the plot by Islamic extremists to launch a suicide attack on an Australian army base.

It said the raids involved a suspected terrorist cell of Australian nationals of Somali and Lebanese backgrounds. The report said members of the group had been observed carrying out surveillance at the army base and other suspicious activity around defence bases in Victoria. Copies of the newspaper were publicly available at 1.30am in Melbourne, well ahead of the raids.

  • "Four arrested as 400 police mount counter terrorism raids", Sydney Morning Herald, 8/4/09.
  • "Australia arrests 'terror' suspects", Al Jazeera, 8/4/09.
  • "Australia Launches Major Anti-Terror Operation", New York Times, 8/3/09.



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Who am I?

I am a law enforcement professional with over 35 years experience in both sworn and civilian positions. I have service in 3 different countries in both the northern and southern hemispheres.

My principal areas of expertise are: (1) Intelligence, (2) Training and Development, (3) Knowledge Management, and (4) Administration/Supervision.

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