Australian Teens Arrested in ISIS-inspired Terror Plot
Five Australian teens were arrested Saturday in a plot to attack people attending a commemorative event for ANZAC Day in Melbourne. The plot included attacking police officers in what is being described as an “Islamic State inspired” action. ANZAC Day, April 25, is one of the most patriotic of all Australian events (see below for further information on the day).
Major counterterrorism action: Operation Rising
At least 200 law enforcement members were involved in executing 7 search warrants throughout the community on Saturday. While exact details of the weapons confiscated have not been released, nor the details of the plot, police stated that the evidence collected led them to believe it was an ISIS style attack, believed to be with knives and swords.
ABC Australia reported that Sevdet Besim, 18, was charged with conspiring to commit a terrorist act and appeared in the Melbourne Magistrates Court. He did not ask for bail and will remain in custody until next Friday.
A second man, 18, was also arrested on terrorism-related charges during a major joint counterterrorism team operation. A third man was arrested on weapons charges.
Two other men were detained and are said to be cooperating with police.
Three of the 5 arrested were injured during the operation, and had to be subdued with pepper spray. One man received a head wound, but no details on that injury have been released.
“At this stage we’re comfortable that we have this threat fully contained. [Members of the public] should feel reassurance as a result of the operations.” Neil Gaughan, Acting Deputy Commisioner
Radical Mosque attendance
Some of the arrested men attended Al Furqan Islamic study center in South Springvale and were associates of Abdul Numan Haider, who also attended the center. Haider was shot and killed by counterterrorism police in September last year.
In case you didn’t know, “Al Furqan” is also the name of the official ISIS media network. The name itself comes from the 25th Sura of the Qur’an, and means “The Criterion.” It is a reference to the Qur’an being the deciding factor between good and evil.
ANZAC Day stands for Australia-New Zealand Army Corps. It refers to the battle at Gallipoli, Turkey in April of 1915 that resulted in the deaths of 44,000 Allied soldiers and 87,000 Ottoman soldiers. What began as an attempt to knock Turkey out of the war, ended in disaster. It is considered one of the bloodiest and longest battles of WWI, at 8 months long. The battle was won by the Turks at an enormous cost of life. At the end of 1915, the remaining Anzac forces were evacuated.
In an article entitled “Fatal Shore” by Joshua Hammer in the Smithsonian Magazine from February 2015, he stated that the current leader of Turkey, Erdogan claims the Battle of Gallipoli as a win for Islam “by the hand of god.” In fact, the Turks who won the battle did so with German help.
The Turkish government now buses thousands of Turks to the battle ground to tell its new version of the events of that bloody battle, and encourages them to pray at the site. The Islamists even go so far as to change the habit patterns of the original soldiers by saying they only drank “tea” when evidence from the battlefield suggests they drank beer.
For Australia and New Zealand, Anzac Day represents the memory of brave men who fought valiantly and died horrifically in the trenches and tunnels of a foreign land in WWI. Kudos to the Australian security police who foiled this plot.