MELBOURNE NEW YEARS EVE TERROR ATTACK THWARTED, SUSPECT ARRESTEDDate: 2017-11-28
Australian police have thwarted an alleged plan to carry out a terror attack during New Year's Eve celebrations in Melbourne, with one man arrested.
Police have said the 20-year-old man will be charged with terrorism offences which carry a maximum penalty of life in prison.
It is alleged that the man had planned to use an automatic rifle "to shoot and kill as many people as he could" at the city centre's Federation Square, Victoria Police deputy commissioner Shane Patton said on Tuesday.
"This is a person who would become particularly energised, for a lack of a better word when overseas [terrorism] events occurred and would express a great deal of interest in committing an attack himself." he continued.
Last year, about 500,000 people celebrated New Year's Eve in Melbourne's city centre.
Authorities said the man had not obtained an automatic weapon before his arrest on Monday in the Melbourne suburb of Werribee, and there is no ongoing threat to the public.
Mr Patton said the suspect had been monitored by police as a "person of interest" since January.
The son of Somali parents, the suspect was born in Australia but in recent months had obtained an online manual from al-Qaeda with instructions for staging a terrorist attack. According to police, he was a sympathiser of so-called Islamic State.
It is said the man was connected with extremists but no further arrests were expected as it is believed to be acting alone.
Search warrants for the man's home, a business where he had worked, and a relative's property have been executed.
This is not the first major terror attached targeted at Federation Square. Last year, police foiled another plan to strike on Christmas Day. The arrest was not linked to this operation, police said.