One arrested, 15 detained after Brisbane, Sydney anti-terror raids

One man has been arrested and 15 people detained as part of one of the largest counter-terrorism operations in Australia's history.


NSW Police and Australian Federal Police officers raid a house in Sydney earlier this month (AAP)

One man has been arrested and 15 others detained after a massive counter-terrorism operation in Sydney and Brisbane.

Hundreds of state and federal officers conducted dawn raids this morning in Sydney's northwest, west and southwestern suburbs.

About a dozen warrants have been carried out in homes across Beecroft, Bellavista, Guildford, Merrylands, Northmead, Wentworthville, Marsfield, Westmead, Castle Hill, Revesby, Bass Hill and Regents Park.

Similar raids were also carried out in the Brisbane suburbs of Logan, Mt Gravatt and Underwood.

AFP Acting Commissioner Andrew Colvin said a total of 25 warrants were executed during the Sydney raids.

He said the man had been charged with "serious terrorism related offences" and would appear in court today.

'Police believe this group had the intention and had started to carry out planning to commit violent acts here in Australia'
"Police believe this group had the intention and had started to carry out planning to commit violent acts here in Australia," he said.

"Those violent acts particularly related to random acts against members of the public."

Three of the 15 detained did resist arrest.

Image via NSW Police.

NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione urged for calm among the public.

"Now is a time for calm," he said.

"We don't need to whip this up... We know that the work this morning will ensure that all of those plans that may have been onfoot were thwarted."

Commissioner Scipone said further details of the group's plans would become known during today's court appearance, but told police it was intended to be very public.

"What we can indicate is that the violence was to be perpetrated on a member of the public, on the streets, and certainly at this stage was at a very high level," he said.

"... The facts will be very, very clear."

Commissioner Scipone declined giving further detail in relation to the plans.

He confirmed that passports were confiscated from some of the 15 people taken into custody and one firearm had been seized.

"We have seized at least one weapon, that I'm aware of, but it's too early to suggest that's all we're going to find," he said.

Operation Hammerhead to be launched in Sydney

Commissioner Scipione also announced the launch of Operation Hammerhead, involving 220 officers.

"Hammerhead will be there to ensure that we have very high visibility police operations happening in areas where potentially people may want to either take some retribution or create trauma within communities," he said.

"We won't be letting that happen. There will be over 220 police very visible, out and about, dealing with any trouble makers."

The raids are understood to be linked to men arrested in a raid at an Islamic centre south of Brisbane earlier this month.

Two Queensland men were arrested on terrorism charges relating to preparing to send fighters to join the conflict in Syria.

One was identified as 31-year-old Omar Succarieh, the brother of Australia's first suicide bomber to die in Syria, Ahmed Succarieh.

A sawn-off .22 calibre semi-automatic weapon and ammunition were allegedly found at the home of the other man, 21-year-old Agim Kruezi, and police also seized a crossbow and electronic records during the large-scale operation.

It followed a year-long investigation by the AFP, who gave assurances the men weren't planning terrorist attacks in Australia.

The raids on Thursday also come a day after a Sydney-based money transfer business owned by the sister and brother-in-law of convicted Sydney terrorist Khaled Sharrouf was shut down amid concerns it was being used to to finance terrorism.

Federal agency Austrac says the registration of Bisotel Rieh Pty Ltd, an independent remittance provider, has been suspended as action is taken to cancel its registration.

The updates follow the last week, meaning a terrorist attack is now considered "likely".

4 min read
Published 18 September 2014 at 10:44am
By Stephanie Anderson