Melbourne Christmas Terror Plot Foiled

By Faye Higbee

Seven people were arrested in 6 raids across Melbourne in what Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called, “one of the most substantial terrorist plots that have been disrupted in recent years.” Four of the 7 have been charged and remain in custody, the others released. The plot was for Christmas Day against several landmarks.

The Sydney Morning Herald Reported,

Police believe a group of self-radicalised Islamic extremists were planning to carry out an attack on some of Melbourne’s most famous landmarks, including Federation Square, St Paul’s Cathedral and Flinders Street Station.

Intelligence gathered by law enforcement suggests that the plotters were preparing to use an improvised explosive device (IED) in the attack, as well as knives and guns… 

A joint operation involving 400 officers from Victoria Police, Australian Federal Police and ASIO raided properties across Melbourne’s north-west on Friday, in Flemington, Meadow Heights, Dallas, Campbellfield and Gladstone Park. 

Police have been monitoring the group for some time. They decided to make the arrests the day before Christmas Eve out of concern that the terrorists might make their move early.

Authorities stated there appeared to be no connection to overseas groups, other than online radicalization by ISIS. Security has been heightened at Boxing Day (December 26) events.

Friends or family of the accused terrorists. Photo by Eddie Jim via Sydney Morning Herald

The Suspects

The men appeared in court on Dec 23. Abdullah Chaarani, 26 – between December 1 and December 22, Mr Chaarani “did engage in acts done in preparation for or planning a terrorist act.”

Hamza Abbas, 21- his attorney stated that he was “vulnerable” because of his age.

Ahmed Mohamed, 24 – the attorney claimed he has a back injury and needed medication.

Those three will face the court again on April 28, and were held in custody in spite of the attorney’s statements. Officials stated it will take that long for police to comb through all the evidence seized in the raids.

The 4th man was not named, and appeared in a rare evening session of the court. He was remanded to appear in court on Saturday morning.


Featured picture: Flinders Street Station, Melbourne – Twitter photo