• Up to 17 people were arrested in raids on houses in Sydney and Melbourne early this morning.

  • 400 police were involved and 23 search warrants were issued. The arrests follow an 18-month anti-terrorism operation.

  • One terrorist suspect was shot and wounded
    by police on a Sydney street after allegedly opening fire on them after
    he disobeyed an order to stop. The man had been under surveillance by
    counter-terrorist police and was carrying a backpack when ordered to
    stop by officers.

  • Of the nine suspects arrested in Melbourne, eight have been charged
    with being members of a proscribed organisation, and one has been
    charged with directing members of a proscribed organisation. For
    proscribed organisations click here.

  • Charges that have been laid against those arrested also include “acts in preparation of a terrorist act …and conspiracy to commit a terrorist act.”

  • Police arrested up to eight people in NSW
    after executing warrants in Lakemba, Belmore, Wiley Park, Greenacre,
    Illawong, Punchbowl, Hoxton Park, Condell Park, Ingleburn, Belfield,
    Bankstown and Kemps Creek. Of the seven people said to be in custody in
    Sydney, five are Australian citizens
  • Raids carried out across nine suburbs in Melbourne led to nine arrests, including a prominent Muslim cleric, Imam Abdul Nacer Benbrika,
    also known as Abu Bakr. The Algerian-born Australian’s home has been
    raided by ASIO at least twice this year. He is allegedly the spiritual
    leader of those arrested. Suburbs raided included
    Coburg, Preston, Dallas, Hoppers Crossing, Fawkner, Hadfield,
    Yarraville and Meadow Heights. Brunswick is also mentioned in some reports.

  • The terrorism suspects arrested could face up to 25 years in prison,
    according to Victorian Police Commissioner Christine Nixon. The charge
    of being a member of a proscribed organisation carries a maximum
    sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment, while the charge of directing a
    proscribed organisation attracted a maximum penalty of 25 years in jail.

  • Commissioner Nixon said the group to which the men belonged “doesn’t have a name” and “had no specific target in mind.”
  • The suspects are all men, mainly in their mid-20s, most of whom are married with children.

    NSW Police outside a house in Renown Ave, Wiley Park in Sydney’s
    southwest, early this morning.
    (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas)

  • The raids have “prevented a major terrorist attack that would have
    occurred,” Victoria Police Commissioner Christine Nixon told ABC’s AMthis morning. It was “the largest operation, counter terrorism that’s ever been conducted in this country.”

  • Intelligence had been received about a group of men “making
    arrangements to stockpile chemicals and other materials capable of
    making explosives” in order to carry out a terrorist attack, revealed
    NSW Premier Iemma. It was this information that led to the raids in Melbourne and Sydney.

  • The arrests were made possible by the amendments to the
    anti-terror laws rushed through parliament last week, says Treasurer
    Peter Costello. “As the prime minister said last week, certain
    intelligence matters were bought to the attention of the government,
    and acting on the basis of that advice the government proposed some
    amendment to the law and that went through the parliament last week,”
    he told ABC radio.
    “Now of course you see that some arrests have been made and you don’t
    want to comment too much on any operational matters but you did hear
    the NSW commissioner and the Victorian commissioner make their own
    observations about what those arrests had prevented.”

  • Victorian police commissioner Christine Nixon was quick to quash
    any link between the raids and a possible attack on Melbourne’s 2006
    Commonwealth Games. “We don’t have any specific threats at all to the
    Commonwealth Games and so we believe that we’ve put in place
    appropriate security,” she said. Asked if the arrests overnight had any
    connection to the Games she replied: “None”.