Monday, November 07, 2005

Major Terrorist Attack Foiled In Australia

From Reuters:

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australian authorities believe they have foiled a major terrorist attack, arresting 15 people on Tuesday during raids in the country's two biggest cities of Sydney and Melbourne.

The arrests come less than a week after Prime Minster John Howard said Australia received intelligence about a "terrorist threat."

"We believe ... we've disrupted a large-scale operation which, had it been allowed to go through to fruition, we certainly believe would have been catastrophic," New South Wales Police Commissioner Ken Moroney told Australian television.

The Australian Federal Police said 23 house searches were carried out under warrants in suburbs in Sydney and Melbourne early on Tuesday as part of a joint counter-terrorism operation with New South Wales and Victoria state police and the Australian Security Intelligence Organization.

Several searches were still under way, a Federal Police spokesman told Reuters.

"Nine men have been arrested and charged in Melbourne with terrorism related offences, some of which include intentionally being a member of a terrorist organization ... and intentionally directing the activities of a terrorist organization," he said.

Six men had been arrested in Sydney, but had not yet been charged, the spokesman said.

Australia's parliament rushed through urgent amendments to anti-terrorism laws last Thursday to allow police to charge people in the early stages of planning an attack.

Australia, a staunch U.S. ally with troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, has never suffered a major peacetime attack on home soil. The country has been on medium security alert since shortly after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

The worldwide Jihad rages on.