The suspects had been seized in daybreak raids by officers from the nation’s Joint Counter Terrorism Workforce lower than two weeks after a person was killed in Australia’s second-largest metropolis in what police mentioned was an act of terrorism. Hanifi Halis, 21, Samed Erikioglu, 26 and Ertunc Erikioglu, 30, have all been charged with planning a terrorist act. They’re all Australian residents and their passports had been cancelled earlier this yr. Police mentioned the three males had been impressed by Islamic State slightly than being directed by the militant group.

Graham Ashton, Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police, mentioned: “We now have adequate proof to behave in relation to stopping a terrorist assault.”

He mentioned the suspects had not determined the place to hold out their deliberate assault however believed it was imminent.

He mentioned: ”They had been actually a spot of mass gathering, the place there can be crowds.

“They had been making an attempt to deal with making an attempt to have a spot the place they might kill as many individuals as doable.”

Police are are actually combing via 17,000 intercepted telephone calls and 10,500 messages exchanged between the group as a part of proof collected throughout their arrests.

They mentioned it will take a number of months to transcribe the calls and messages.

Australia, a staunch US ally that despatched troops to Afghanistan and Iraq, has been on heightened alert since 2014 for assaults by home-grown militants getting back from combating within the Center East or their supporters.

The probability of a militant assault there’s ranked “possible”, the midpoint on a five-level system.

Police mentioned the three males had been recognized to authorities and their passports had been cancelled due to considerations they’d journey to a battle zone abroad.

The arrests got here lower than two weeks after a person set fireplace to a pickup truck laden with gasoline cylinders within the centre of Melbourne and stabbed three folks, killing one, earlier than he was shot by police.

Police mentioned the three suspects didn’t have any hyperlinks to the person chargeable for the November 9 assault however had stepped up their planning within the aftermath of that assault.

Commissioner Ashton mentioned: ”Actually during the last week they’ve turn into energised about doing one thing extra rapidly.”

Police mentioned the suspects had been utilizing encrypted messaging apps to speak, which an Australian authorities minister mentioned was additional proof of the necessity to amend the regulation.

Australia proposed a regulation earlier this yr that will require firms similar to Fb and Apple to offer entry to personal encrypted knowledge linked to suspected unlawful actions.

Residence Affairs Minister Peter Dutton mentioned: “We now have folks now who’re swapping messages utilizing encrypted messaging apps. The police are blind to these messages.”

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