Australian police arrest Melbourne teenager on terror charges

Police arrest 17-year-old after finding homemade pipe bombs at his home during raid

Australian police have arrested a 17-year-old on terror charges in a Melbourne suburb and say they have halted a plot to detonate three homemade bombs in the city.

A house was raided in the northern suburb of Greenvale on Friday. A teenager has been arrested after plotting an alleged “Mother’s Day massacre” in which he planned to explode three bombs in the heart of Melbourne.

The teenager was arrested during a raid at his home in the Melbourne suburb of Greenvale, where he planned the attack – apparently due to occur on Sunday – without the knowledge of his “caring and loving family”, police said. Three pipe bombs were seized and detonated at a nearby park.

“We may not know exactly where it was going to occur nor when it was exactly going to occur,” said deputy commissioner Mike Phelan, from the Australian federal police.

“But let me tell you, something was going to happen and as a result of Victoria police and Australian federal police interception yesterday, some Victorians are going to be alive because of it.”

Phelan called yesterday’s arrest a “sobering reminder to all parents of the importance of being more engaged with their children”.

“It is deeply troubling to police that young people in our communities are becoming so disaffected and alienated that they would consider engaging in acts such as this,” he said.

Yesterday, the Victoria Police posted the following tweet:

The raid follows a recent series of arrests of five young men in Melbourne who were allegedly plotting a terrorist attack on Anzac Day. The men, who were inspired by Isil, were in contact with a 14-year-old from Blackburn, Lancashire, who has been arrested and faces terrorism charges.

Five men were detained last month, also in Melbourne, for allegedly planning an attack on an Anzac Day ceremony.

Last September saw the country’s biggest counter-terrorism operation, with 15 people arrested.

Police in Australia said there were “no links at all” between the alleged Mother’s Day and Anzac Day plots. Separate raids have also been conducted in Sydney, where a 14-year-old has reportedly been arrested.

The 17-year-old in Melbourne was charged with terrorism offences and will face court on Monday. He reportedly recently dropped out of school and was radicalised quickly via the internet.

Police said the raid was conducted following an anonymous tip to Australia’s national security hotline nine days ago. When it became clear the plot was imminent and in an advanced state of preparation, a counter-terrorism operation was launched on Thursday night.

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