Drum Cusac has issued this latest warning for People living or traveling Australia. This information is available to GeoBlue plan members from the GeoBlue website daily…
At Least 15 Arrested in Large-Scale Counterterrorism Raids in Sydney and Brisbane Suburbs
Severity: 3 (Moderate)
Source: Drum Cussac
09/18/2014 (Australia) – Police in Australia reportedly arrested at least 15 people in coordinated counterterrorism raids in Sydney and Brisbane early on Thursday, 18 September. The operation, which involved more than 600 officers, targeted about a dozen houses in the Sydney suburbs of Beecroft, Bella Vista, Guildford, Merrylands, Northmead, Wentworthville, Marsfield, Westmead, Castle Hill, Revesby, Regents Park and Bass Hill. The local media indicated that search warrants were also executed in the Brisbane suburbs of Mount Gravatt East, Logan and Underwood.
Police indicated that the suspects had been planning “violent acts in Australia”, specifically “serious violence against a random member of the public here on the streets of New South Wales”. The local press had reported that this would likely have involved the beheading of a random member of the public and filming the attack.
The scale of the counterterrorism operation, reportedly the largest of its kind in Australia’s history, and nature of the alleged planned attacks, have prompted speculation that those detained had links to the Middle East-based Islamic State (IS) jihadist group. On 12 September, Australia had raised the country’s terror threat level to “high”, the second-highest warning, amidst mounting concerns over the domestic threat posed by IS supporters and returning fighters from Syria and Iraq. According to the government, up to 60 Australians were involved in fighting in the two theatres of conflict, while another 100 are believed to be actively supporting the movement in Australia.
The latest raids took place after months of surveillance of individuals suspected of having ties to IS extremists. On 10 September, Australian Federal Police stormed an Islamic bookshop in Brisbane, detaining two men and charging them with recruiting, funding and sending jihadist fighters to Syria. A Sydney-based money transfer outlet was also closed over suspicions it was funnelling funds to finance terrorist activities in the Middle East.
Those in Australia, especially Sydney and Brisbane, should be prepared for heightened security measures at transportation hubs, government buildings and strategic infrastructure, in light of recent developments. There is the potential for residual traffic disruptions and restrictions on movement in the western parts of Sydney and Brisbane’s south, where Thursday’s raids were carried out. Allow for additional time to clear any security checkpoints. Personnel should continue to maintain vigilance in public spaces, and report suspicious behaviour, vehicles and packages to the relevant authorities.
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