Police have conducted the largest anti-terrorist raids in Australian history after uncovering a plot by the Islamic State to behead a random member of the public and drape the body in an Islamic State flag.

Australian Prime minister Tony Abbott said:

"Direct exhortations were coming from an Australian who is apparently quite senior in ISIL (Islamic State) to networks of support back in Australia to conduct demonstration killings here in this country."…

"So this is not just suspicion, this is intent and that's why the police and security agencies decided to act in the way they have."

Mr. Abbott did not name the Australian concerned. But local reports say an intercepted phone call involving Mohammad Ali Baryalei, a former Sydney bouncer described as Australia's most senior IS member, and domestic IS supporters triggered the operation. (source)

The killing was to take place one the streets of Martin Place which is located in Sydney's central business district.

From The New Zealand Herald:

OPERATION APPLEBY: THE FACTS

On Thursday 18 September a series of pre-dawn raids were carried out in what has been declared as Australia's largest ever counter-terrorism operation.

IN SYDNEY

• 25 search warrants were executed

• 10 warrants were undertaken in relation to vehicles

• 800 NSW police and AFP officers were involved

• 15 people were arrested

• One man has been charged so far with serious terrorism-related offences

• Homes were searched in at least 12 suburbs in the city's north-west including Beecroft, Bella Vista, Guildford, Merrylands, Northmead, Wentworthville, Marsfield, Westmead, Castle Hill, Revesby, Bass Hill and Regents Park

IN BRISBANE

• A series of raids related to last week's raids in Brisbane were carried out

• Police are investigating links to the Sydney terror suspects

• 70 officers were involved in the raids

• Last week two men were arrested in Brisbane and appeared in court charged with terrorism-related offences

• Homes in the Brisbane suburbs of Mount Gravatt East, Logan and Underwood were raided as part of the coordinated operation on Thursday

Source

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