“The Islamic State (ISIS)-style plot that appeared to be in final preparation, involved terrorist attacks against police officers on ANZAC (veterans remembrance) Day,” Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott told a news conference. The arrests took place in the heavily Muslim area of Melbourne, the capital of Victoria state.
VOA News ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. The April 25 day of remembrance is a commemoration of the troops’ landings on the Turkish peninsula of Gallipoli during World War One. The year was 1915, so this year marks the centennial.
“At this stage we have no information that it was a planned beheading,” said Neil Gaughan, Acting Deputy Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police. “But there was reference to an attack on police. Some evidence that we have collected at a couple of the scenes, and some other information we have, leads us to believe that this particular matter was ISIS inspired.”
The Australian government raised the national terrorism alert level last year to “high” in response to threats by supporters of IS militants. The five suspects arrested Saturday were all either 18 or 19. Officials say they had links to another teen, Abdul Numan Haider, a suspected IS supporter shot dead by police in Melbourne last year after stabbing two officers.