Fri, Oct 14, 2016 - Page 5 News List

Two Australian teens planned attacks

NY Times News Service, SYDNEY

New South Wales Deputy Police Commissioner Catherine Burn, right, and Australian Federal Police Deputy Commissioner Michael Phelan address the media after two 16-year-old boys were charged with terror-related offenses in Sydney yesterday.

Photo: AFP

Two 16-year-old boys who were arrested carrying bayonet knives in a Sydney suburb were planning an “imminent attack” and had been inspired by the Islamic State group, police said yesterday.

The boys, whose names were withheld because of their age, had been under surveillance when they were arrested on Wednesday in Bankstown, a southwestern suburb, police said.

They were charged the next day with preparing to commit a terrorist act, which is punishable by life in prison, and membership in a terrorist organization.

New South Wales Deputy Police Commissioner Catherine Burn told a news conference that the police did not know of a specific target that the boys had chosen, but that based on their actions “it is enough to say they were planning an imminent attack.”

“We will be alleging that this attack was inspired by Islamic State,” she said.

Australian police said they have prevented 11 imminent terrorist attacks since September 2014.

Last month, a 19-year-old man who the authorities said had plotted to run over and behead a police officer during a parade in Melbourne last year was sentenced to 10 years in jail.

In October last year, in what the authorities later called an act of terrorism, a 15-year-old boy shot and killed Curtis Cheng, a civilian accountant who worked for the police in another suburb of Sydney, Parramatta.

The boy, who shot Cheng outside a police station, was killed by the police.

Australian Federal Police Deputy Commission Michael Phelan said at the news conference with Burn that the boys arrested on Wednesday appeared to have been radicalized at 16.

“The threat is real. It is enduring. It is still happening,” he said. “The age of these two individuals is extremely concerning to us.”

The police raided homes and a prayer hall after the arrests and confiscated electronic equipment, Burn said, adding that the investigation was continuing.

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