Melbourne Christmas Day 'terror attack' foiled, say Australia police
Australian police say they have foiled a terror attack planned for Melbourne on Christmas Day.
Five men were arrested in early-morning raids on Friday, Victoria Police chief commissioner Graham Ashton said.
Mr Ashton said the threat involved “use of explosives” and other weapons including “knives or a firearm”.
The threat was to prominent city locations including Flinders St Station, Federation Square and St Paul’s Cathedral, he said.
Mr Ashton said there was no longer a threat to the public.
“We don’t have any threat over and above that threat that we’ve currently neutralised,” he said at a press conference.
Four of the suspects were Australian-born men in their 20s of a Lebanese background, while the fifth was an Australian of Egyptian origin, Mr Ashton said.
He claimed they were “self-radicalised” but inspired by propaganda of the so-called Islamic State.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said the alleged plans “were not acts of faith”.
“They were in their planning, acts of evil,” he said.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull described terrorism as a challenge that affected everyone.
“They want to frighten Australians, they want to divide Australians, they want us to turn on each other,” he said.
“But we will not let them.”
Flinders St Station, Federation Square and St Paul’s Cathedral occupy three corners of what is arguably Melbourne’s most iconic intersection.