Australian police on Tuesday claimed to have foiled a major terror plot in Melbourne with the arrest of four people linked to a Somali militant group who were allegedly planning a suicide shootout on a military base.
Police officials said they have pinpointed an Australian terrorist cell supporting and directly involved in insurgency activity in Somalia.
In pre-dawn raids, some 400 officers from the Australian Federal Police, Victoria Police and NSW Police launched a series of raids in Melbourne under operation codenamed 'Operation Neath' and arrested four people - all Australian citizens. Some plotters were of Somali descent and others Lebanese.
Police said those who were arrested are being questioned and several others are assisting with inquiries.
The raids followed a seven-month surveillance against the plotters, who are allegedly linked to al-Shabaab, a Somali Islamic extremist group, Australian Federal Police Acting Commissioner Tony Negus told reporters.
A NSW police spokesperson said 20 officers from the Counter Terrorism and Special Tactics Command helped in the
Melbourne phase of the investigation over a number of months.
"Details of the planning indicate the alleged offenders were prepared to complete a sustained attack on military personnel until they themselves were killed," a federal police spokesman said.