Two teenage boys have been charged with terror-related offences, allegedly involving an “imminent” attack inspired by Islamic State (IS).
The 16-year-olds were arrested by the Joint Counter Terrorism Team near a Bankstown prayer hall in western Sydney on Wednesday, with police charging them early on Thursday
The boys did not appear at a hearing in Parramatta Children’s Court on Thursday morning.
Officers allegedly seized two military-style bayonets, which can be attached to rifles, during their arrest in Bankstown on Wednesday.
Police intercepted the pair as they were heading into a prayer hall in Adnum Lane, an alley off Featherstone Street.
Ms Burn said police had no information to indicate the attack involved a beheading, as reported by some media.
The two men remain in custody and police say there is no ongoing threat to the community.
Charges carry maximum life sentence
At a press conference this morning, police said the boys had been charged with acts in preparation to commit a terrorist act and with having membership with a terrorist organisation.
“Those charges are extremely serious charges with the acts in preparation to commit a terrorist act with a maximum of life imprisonment,” Ms Burn said.
She said it was is “the 11th imminent attack… we have prevented in this country. There have been four attacks, three have been in NSW.”
No ‘silver bullet’ to youth radicalisation
As part of their operation, officers searched a number of homes and also a prayer hall.
Australian Federal Police Deputy Commissioner Mike Phelan said:
“We have been saying for a long time now that primary for all of us is about public safety, and we will act as soon as we have enough information to be able to disrupt any activity.”
“Anybody who says they’ve got the silver bullet to youth radicalisation, please tell me all about it,” he said.
Deputy Commissioner Burn said it was “up to the parents” to look for early signs of radicalisation in their children.
“The age, the 16-year-old is going to be a concern to any of us, and it’s going to be a concern to parents, and it’s really where the hub of this is,” she said.
Minister for Justice Michael Keenan said police were being trained in “indicators of radicalisation”
“Since the national terrorism threat level was raised on 12 September 2014, there have been four attacks, and now 11 major [counter-terrorism] disruption operations in response to potential attack planning in Australia,” he said.
“I would like to reassure the public that following these arrests there is no immediate or ongoing threat to the public.”
– with ABC and AAP