After a raid by security forces on several locations throughout Sydney, Australian authorities announced that a terrorist attack by a local cell that wanted to shoot down a passenger plane had been foiled. Police chief: “We do believe it is Islamic-inspired terrorism.”

Australia on high alert

Australia on high alert Photo Credit: Reuters/ Channel 2 News

Australian authorities announced on Sunday that security forces had thwarted an attempted terrorist attack in which a local terror cell planned to shoot down a passenger plane with improvised explosive devices. At the end of a raid on a number of locations in Sydney, four suspects were arrested and taken for questioning.

According to the local security forces, the plot was “Islamic inspired.” Intelligence reports indicate that the four had no known ties with terrorist organizations. The police did not elaborate on the planned date or location of the attack and said that the investigation was still in progress and indictments had not yet been filed.

“In recent days, law enforcement has become aware of information that suggested some people in Sydney were planning to commit a terrorist act using an improvised device,” said AFP commissioner Andrew Colvin during a press conference on Sunday with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. “We do believe it is Islamic-inspired terrorism. Exactly what is behind this is something that we will need to investigate fully. At this time we don’t have a great deal of information on the specific attack, the location, date or time. However, we are investigating information indicating that the aviation industry was potentially a target.”

Turnbull added that increased security measures had been implemented at Sydney’s airport since last Thursday as per intelligence recommendations and that passengers at Australia’s other airports could expect enhanced security presence as well.

According to Reuters, since 2014, about 100 Australian citizens had left for Syria and the Middle East to join the fighting. Ever since, Australia has been on high security alert; that same year, two people were murdered in a terror attack in a coffee shop in Sydney. The following year, another person was murdered by terrorists identified with ISIS. In 2016, local police arrested a 16-year-old boy from Sydney who allegedly- inspired by ISIS- planned to carry out a massacre during a ceremony for Anzac Day, a national day of remembrance. In 2017, ISIS claimed responsibility for a shooting and hostage situation in Melbourne that left two dead.