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    Default Police in Australia arrest 17 terror suspects, say they foiled attack

    Police in Australia arrest 17 terror suspects, say they foiled attack
    21:03:54 EST Nov 7, 2005
    MIKE CORDER



    SYDNEY, Australia (AP) - Police in Australia arrested 17 terror suspects, including a prominent radical Muslim cleric, in a string of raids early Tuesday and said they had foiled a major terror attack.

    The Australian Federal Police said eight men were arrested in Sydney and nine in Melbourne in the co-ordinated raids that also netted evidence including weapons, computers, backpacks and apparent bomb-making materials.

    "I was satisfied that this state was under an imminent threat of potentially a catastrophic terrorist act," said New South Wales Police Minister Carl Scully.

    Australia's Sky News reported that a man who had been under surveillance was shot and wounded by police in the raids, which followed a 16-month investigation. Police did not immediately confirm the man was a terror suspect.

    An Associated Press photographer saw a bomb squad robot examining a backpack the man was wearing when he was shot.

    Rob Stary, a Melbourne lawyer who said he represented eight people arrested there, said most of his clients were charged with being members of a banned organization.

    Police declined to give details of the likely target of the attack, but Victoria state police chief Christine Nixon said that next year's Commonwealth Games, to be staged in Melbourne, were not a target.

    "It's the largest operation of counterterrorism that's ever been conducted in this country," Nixon told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

    Stary said one of those arrested in Melbourne was the outspoken radical Muslim cleric Abu Bakr, an Algerian-Australian who has said he would be violating his faith if he warned his students not to join the jihad, or holy war, in Iraq.

    In an August interview with the ABC, Abu Bakr also said that although he is against the killing of innocents, he could also not discourage his students from travelling to Afghanistan or Pakistan to train in terrorist camps.

    Abu Bakr told the ABC he is not involved with any terror cells in Australia. However, he said he supports al-Qaida's aims and praised the group's leader.

    "Osama bin Laden, he is a great man," Abu Bakr said. "Osama was a great man before 11 September. They said he did it and until now nobody knows who did it."

    ABC reported that Abu Bakr had been under investigation by the Australian Security Intelligence Organization, which accuses him of supporting Australian Muslims who participate in insurgencies overseas.

    Australia has never been hit by a major terror attack, but its citizens have repeatedly been targeted overseas, particularly in neighbouring Indonesia.

    Last year, the country's embassy in Jakarta was badly damaged by a suicide bomber, and dozens of Australians were killed in bombings in 2002 and last month on the Indonesian resort island of Bali.

    Prime Minister John Howard's opponents say his strong support for the U.S.-led war in Iraq and decision to send troops there and to Afghanistan have made an attack on Australia inevitable.

    Just last week, Howard warned that Australian authorities had received specific intelligence about an attack on the country.

    Also last week, the Australian Parliament amended the country's existing anti-terrorism laws to allow police to arrest people involved in the early stages of planning an unspecified terror attack. Nixon said some of the arrests Tuesday were made possible by the new legislation.



    The Canadian Press, 2005
    September 11th - Never Forget

    I respect firefighters and emergency workers worldwide. Thank you for what you do.

    Sheri
    IACOJ CRUSTY CONVENTION CHAIR
    Honorary Flatlander

    RAY WAS HERE FIRST

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    Thumbs up

    Well done Australia.

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    It's been big news over here, but of course the do-gooders are complaining about excessive force, discrimination, etc, etc
    Luke

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    Australian arrests foiled 'catastrophic' attack: police
    Last Updated Tue, 08 Nov 2005 07:32:35 EST
    CBC News
    Australian police say they have foiled a planned terrorist attack against their country, arresting a prominent Muslim cleric and 16 other suspects in a series of raids in Sydney and Melbourne.


    INDEPTH: London Bombings


    New South Wales police released this digitally altered image showing a man captured in a raid being led into a cell in a Sydney police station, Tuesday, Nov. 8. (AP Photo/New South Wales Police)
    As some of those detained in the raids appeared in court Tuesday, prosecutors alleged that they were committed to waging a violent religious war in Australia.

    During the raids early Monday, police said they seized explosives and chemicals that could be used to make bombs such as the ones that exploded on the London transit system this summer.

    One suspect was shot and wounded after allegedly opening fire on officers near a Sydney mosque.

    New South Wales police Commissioner Ken Moroney said more than 400 police officers were involved in the raids, which he credits for preventing a "catastrophic" attack.

    "We believe we've been able to significantly disrupt a proposed terrorist attack here in Australia," he said.

    Moroney said police services will remain vigilant despite the arrests, adding, "We know from overseas experience that certainly other persons are prepared to take the place of individuals."

    He said the raids were the result of a three-year investigation.

    Police would not give details on the intended target of the attack.

    Last week, Prime Minister John Howard said Australian authorities had received specific intelligence about an attack on the country.

    As well, the Australian Parliament approved an amendment to the country's existing anti-terrorism laws that allows police to arrest people involved in the early stages of planning an unspecified attack.

    There has never been a major terrorist attack in Australia, although Australians have been victims of overseas bombings, most notably in Bali.

    The country has been listed as a potential al-Qaeda target because it sent troops to Iraq as part of the U.S.-led coalition to oust former leader Saddam Hussein in 2003, and has had soldiers in the country ever since.
    September 11th - Never Forget

    I respect firefighters and emergency workers worldwide. Thank you for what you do.

    Sheri
    IACOJ CRUSTY CONVENTION CHAIR
    Honorary Flatlander

    RAY WAS HERE FIRST

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