Seven arrests in counter-terror raids across Sydney

Multiple terror raids in Sydney's south-west

Source: ABC News

Seven people have been arrested after hundreds of officers from the Joint Counter Terrorism Team conducted more than a dozen raids across Sydney.

Wednesday’s raids were targeted at multiple homes in Sydney’s south-west, including the suburbs of Greenacre and Bankstown, and followed last week’s Wakeley church stabbing.

All of those arrested are aged 15-17.

“As we know, one young person has been charged with a terrorism-related offence in relation to that incident. From that initial incident, a number of associates were identified that we believe warranted further police attention and investigation,” NSW Police deputy commissioner David Hudson said.

“We will allege that these individuals adhered to a religiously motivated violent extremist ideology … It was considered
that the group, subject of their attention, posed an unacceptable risk to the people of NSW … As a result, we determined that we needed to escalate our activities and that overt action was required.”

The raids began at 11.15am on Wednesday, and continued into the afternoon. Police executed 13 search warrants, and arrested the seven people with a further five helping with inquiries.

NSW Police deputy commissioner Krissy Barrett said there was no immediate threat to the community, although the national terror threat level remained at possible.

“This operation is linked to the 16-year-old boy who was charged last week with a terrorism offence in relation to an alleged stabbing at a Sydney church,” she said.

“But I want to say this at the top – this activity, which started this morning, is not linked to Anzac Day commemorations or any religious holiday.”

Barrett said the raids had followed “quite intense scrutiny and surveillance” of some people in the past week.

“Their behaviour, whilst under that surveillance, led us to believe that, if they were to commit any act, we would not be able to prevent that. And we believed, through the investigation, that it was likely that an attack might ensue,” she said.

“At our meeting yesterday, we considered that the risk was too great, and we needed to intervene today.”

Hudson said those arrested were all known to each other, some quite closely. All were from similar areas of the community.

“No specific targets had been nominated. However, it’s just the
ongoing threat and loose nature of the group as well. Whilst coordinated to some degree, there were splinter factions doing their own thing as well,” he said.

Family members are also being spoken to.

The raids come more than a week after a 16-year-old allegedly stabbed Assyrian bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel and priest Isaac Royel at the Christ the Good Shepherd Church in Wakeley on the night of April 15.

The stabbing, which investigators say was religiously motivated, left both men injured before the attacker was subdued.

The accused teenager had received intermittent treatment for mental health issues for some years, his lawyer said during an initial court appearance on Friday.

His charge of committing a terrorist act carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

Leaders from Sydney’s Lebanese Muslim community have said the 16-year-old’s family did not believe he had been radicalised online before the attack.

Strike Force Dribs has also been seeking a dozen men caught on camera taking part in a violent riot after the stabbing.

Four people have so far been charged with violence-related offences.

The counter-terrorism squad is made up of state and federal police, as well as officials from ASIO and the NSW Crime Commission.

-with AAP

Stay informed, daily
A FREE subscription to The New Daily arrives every morning and evening.
The New Daily is a trusted source of national news and information and is provided free for all Australians. Read our editorial charter
Copyright © 2024 The New Daily.
All rights reserved.