Five men were arrested in early-morning raids for allegedly planning to carry out a terror attack in Melbourne, Australia. According to the authorities, the suspects — all in their early- and mid-20s — intended to target the shopping district of Federation Square, the Flinders Street train station, and nearby St. Paul’s Cathedral with some combination of explosives, guns, and knives, possibly on Christmas Day.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull described the men as “inspired by [ISIS]” and “self-radicalized.” All five are Australian citizens, with four born in the country and one having immigrated from Egypt. Turnbull went on to say that the situation was “one of the most substantial terrorist plots that have been disrupted over the last several years.”
The head of Australia’s Federal Police, Andrew Colvin, said that law enforcement had been monitoring the group for a while: “They had moved very quickly from an intention to a capability, a developed capability, including quite progressed plans.” Meanwhile, local police chief Graham Ashton told reporters that, as of Friday afternoon, “We don’t have any threat over and above that threat that we’ve currently neutralized.”