Fifteen people were arrested in Australia Thursday after officials obtained intelligence data suggesting that members of the Islamic State planned on performing “public beheadings” to demonstrate their presence in other areas of the world.
An estimated 800 police officials conducted the counterterrorism raids in the city of Sydney to foil the terrorist plot, Fox News reported.
Australian’s are worried about the radicalization of members in their Muslim community, and they’re not sure how many of their citizens are collaborating with the Islamic State militants.
According to Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, someone affiliated with the terrorist organization told members of the Islamic State in Australia to “horrify” the public by kidnapping members of the public and beheading them.
“The exhortations, quite direct exhortations, were coming from an Australian who is apparently quite senior in ISIL to networks of support back in Australia to conduct demonstration killings here in this country,” Abbott said.
While the main suspect remains unnamed, authorities named Mohammad Ali Baryalei as a co-conspirator. He’s believed to be the “most senior member” of the terrorist organization in Australia, and authorities have issues a warrant for his arrest, Fox News confirmed.
This was largest preemptive raid in Australian history, according to Australian Federal Police Deputy Commissioner Andrew Colvin.
In a statement to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Attorney General George Brandis said the police raids stopped a potential tragedy.
“If the … police had not acted today, there is a likelihood that this would have happened,” Brandis said.
Prime Minister Abbot also announced that the country is now under a “high” terrorist alert.
Twitter users were shocked. Here’s a sample:
FOX stating as fact that an “ISIS behading plot” was thwarted in Australia…. So the US should worry it could happen here.
— Marc Caputo (@MarcACaputo) September 18, 2014
@THEHermanCain Think it’s safe to say that the Australia gun buy back program didn’t help to prevent this.
— Jerry D Mitchell Jr (@Jrry818205) September 18, 2014
@THEHermanCain One more example why the right to be armed is a universal human right.
— Freedom Project (@Think4Liberty) September 18, 2014
— Paula L. Florentine (@pflorentine1) September 18, 2014
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