Seven arrested in Australian ‘terrorism’ raids

Seven arrested in Australian ‘terrorism’ raids

SYDNEY, April 24 — Australian police said seven people who posed an “unacceptable risk and threat” to the public have been arrested after anti-terror raids that involved more than 400 officers today.

Police said the individuals were linked to a 16-year-old accused of stabbing an Assyrian Bishop in Sydney, and adhered to a “religiously motivated extremist ideology”.

Deputy police commissioner Dave Hudson said it was “likely” the group could be plotting an attack, although no specific target was evident.

“Their behaviour, whilst under surveillance, led us to believe that, if they were to commit any act, we would not be able to prevent that,” he told reporters.

“And we believed, through the investigation, that it was likely that an attack might ensue.”

Police said all the offenders were juveniles.

Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel was slashed in the head and chest by a 16-year-old suspect last week, sparking a riot by followers of the Assyrian Christian church in western Sydney.

Police were quick to describe the teen’s actions as a “terrorist” act.

As a result of the designation, a joint counter-terrorism task force opened a probe, combining state and federal police forces and the intelligence service ASIO.

Emmanuel has an online following of almost 200,000, galvanising many with his criticism of Covid-19 vaccines and lockdowns as well as Islam.

The area is a hub for Sydney’s small Christian Assyrian community, many of whom fled persecution and war in Iraq and Syria.