Friday 28 October 2016

Boy, 16, charged over new Anzac Day terror plot

Published 25/04/2016 | 15:21

A war veteran waves the Australian national flag in the annual Australia and New Zealand Army Corps (Anzac) parade in Sydney (AP)
A war veteran waves the Australian national flag in the annual Australia and New Zealand Army Corps (Anzac) parade in Sydney (AP)

A teenager has been charged with plotting a terrorist attack on an Australian Veteran's Day ceremony - the second year in a row that authorities say they have thwarted an attack linked to the national holiday.

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The 16-year-old boy was charged with one count of planning a terrorist act after being arrested at his home in western Sydney on Sunday, a day before Australians across the country gathered at ceremonies to mark Anzac Day.

The day commemorates the April 25 1915 Gallipoli landings in Turkey, the first major military action fought by the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps during the First World War.

Police believe the boy, who could face a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted, was acting alone and he had previously been on the authorities' radar, New South Wales Police commissioner Andrew Scipione said.

The teenager's home was searched, but Mr Scipione declined to say if anything was seized.

In court documents, police accuse the teenager of trying to obtain a gun over the weekend as part of the alleged plot. His case was adjourned until Tuesday.

This is the second year in a row that police say they have stopped an attack on an Anzac Day ceremony. Last year police in Melbourne arrested five teenagers on suspicion of plotting an Islamic State group-inspired attack intended to coincide with the city's Anzac service.

The age of the Sydney suspect was troubling but unsurprising, justice minister Michael Keenan said.

"Unfortunately, this is part of a pattern that we have been observing, where younger and younger people are targeted and incited to go and commit an act of terror," he said.

Australia's government raised the country's terror threat level in 2014 in response to the domestic threat posed by IS supporters. Police have since conducted dozens of raids they say have been aimed at thwarting multiple plots in Australia, including an alleged plan to attack government buildings and a naval base in Sydney.

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