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Australian authorities foil imminent terror attack

Editor: Zhang Pengfei 丨Xinhua

05-17-2016 15:59 BJT

SYDNEY, May 17 (Xinhua) -- An Australian teenager who was stopped from travelling to Syria has been arrested for planning a terror attack on the home soil.

Australian authorities on Tuesday arrested an 18-year-old man for allegedly seeking to make a foreign incursion after his passport was cancelled in February and then subsequently planning and seeking a firearm to commit a terror attack on home soil.

"Ensuring the safety of the Australian community has and will be the focus of counter-terror related activity," Australian Federal Police deputy commissioner, national security Neil Gaughan told reporters in Sydney.

Though the man was acting alone, police will allege the 18-year-old "does have associations with some of the people that have already been put before the courts," New South Wales state Police deputy commissioner for special operations, Catherine Burn said.

It's believed that the man is an associate of those already in custody on other terror related charges in connection to terror related attack on police accountant Curtis Cheng last year.

"What is concerning is we're still seeing people wanting to do an attack in our country," Burn said.

While police allege the 18-year-old was planning travel to Syria to engage in "hostile activities", the arrest is not related to the five men arrested and charged with terror related offences on Monday for attempting to travel to Syria, via Indonesia and the Philippines by boat.

Australian authorities on Tuesday conducted multiple raids in Melbourne in connection to those arrests.

"We do have international obligations to stop these people from travelling offshore," Gaughan said.

It's believed approximately 100 people had left Australia for Syria to fight alongside organizations such as Islamic State (IS).

Australia, a close ally in the U.S. war on terror, has been on heightened alert for domestic terror plots since September 2014.

"We're living in a changed environment, it's a dynamic world at the moment and we do have to be constantly aware of this threat," Burn said.

"As we all know, youth are vulnerable, particularly around the (radicalised)," Burn said, urging Australian parents and the community to be vigilant about their child's behavior.

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