Aus police conduct anti-terror raids in Melbourne

Aus police conduct anti-terror raids in Melbourne

Two days after the 9/11 anniversary, Australian Federal Police today along with local police of Victoria reportedly raided over 10 Melbourne houses as a part of ongoing probe into homegrown terrorism.

According to media reports, during the raids, a 23-year-old man was arrested who was expected to be charged for collecting or making documents allegedly facilitating terrorist acts.

It was reported that police seized a number of items including a USB memory stick containing violent extremist materials, computer equipment, registered firearms and fake firearms.

Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner for Crime Steve Fontana said the joint investigation was ongoing and pertained to home grown terrorism. "I would like to reassure people that we have not identified any immediate threats that pose immediate concerns to the safety of the community and we will continue to work to ensure that all steps are  taken to protect all members of the community," Fontana said in  a statement.

Among properties which were raided was an Islamic information centre Al Furqan in Springvale South, near Melbourne. According to 'The Age' report, a search warrant for the Al-Furqan centre had said that police were looking for material relating to 11 people between the ages of 22 and 40, and information connected to 12 addresses.

The warrant also mentioned that police was looking for copies of the al-Qaeda's magazine Inspire, that had reportedly named Sydney as a potential target earlier this year.

The warrant said that the material police was searching for was either connected with terrorist acts or the collecting and making of documents that are "likely to facilitate terrorist acts," the report said.

Earlier this month, country's spy chief said Australia was increasingly at risk of home-grown terrorism. Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) director-general David Irvine commented that  there was an increase in the efforts of some Australians to support violent jihad, although the number remains "very small" in absolute terms.

"It's a fact that we continue to have in Australia people who believe that violence is the way to fulfil perceived religious obligations," Irvine was quoted by ABC report. "They reject outright Australia's right to democratic self-governance and our separation of church and state," he said adding a mixture of good work and good luck has prevented more large-scale attacks like those seen on September 11, 2001.

"The threat will remain as long as the proponents of violent jihad stay committed to the promotion of their objectives by violent means," he said. "The suicide bomber, with an absolute belief in martyrdom leading to a blessed eternity in another world, remains a particularly dangerous phenomenon," he said.

He also noted that ASIO was aware of a small but steady number of Australians seeking to travel overseas for terrorist training or to participate in armed conflict and that the intelligence agency was currently dealing with about 200 active counter-terrorism investigations.