During the Melbourne anti-terror raids last week, five men were arrested on suspicion of joining IS. The Australian Police arrested and charged them with preparing to enter a foreign country for the purpose of engaging in hostile activities. The men might face a maximum penalty of life imprisonment for the offence.
Authorities disclosed that these five men were on their terror watch list. They uncover the terrorists’ plan to journey using a small motor boat to Indonesia and then to the Philippines en route to Syria, where they would have joined IS.
So on Tuesday, just after the group set off for their journey in the motor boat almost 3000 km from Melbourne, police arrested them. The five men arrested in the Melbourne anti-terror raids were all between the ages of 21 to 31 reported CNN.
The Christian Science Monitor also mentioned that Melbourne-born radical preacher Musa Cerantonio was among the five men who were charged. Cerantinio converted to Islam at the age of 17 and is a vocal supporter of IS. He was deported from the Philippines in 2014.
A police statement issued after the arrests have assured the public that “There’s no current or impending threat of a terrorist act to the Australian community arising from this investigation.”
Meanwhile, the Attorney-General for Australia George Brandis said, “The primary focus of the investigation is [and] has been to prevent the crime of foreign incursion. That is the crime that is committed when people travel from Australia to participate in a civil war or terrorist warfighting overseas, as it will be alleged these five men were preparing to do.”
In the same report filed by The Christian Science Monitor, Australia has been on heightened alert for attacks by its homegrown terrorists since 2014. Authorities claimed that they had thwarted many possible attacks. Though they admitted that there are incidents like the café siege in Sydney, where two hostages and a gunman were killed, in which casualties are unavoidable.
Moreover, last month the Australian Immigration Minister also said that around 100 people had left Australia for Syria to fight for IS and other such terrorist groups.