July 30 (UPI) — Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull confirmed authorities foiled a plot to detonate an “improvised device” aboard a plane.
The Australian Federal Police, the New South Wales state police, and the Australian Security Intelligence Organization conducted raids at five locations Saturday night in Sydney, arresting four men in connection with an alleged plot to bring down a plane.
“My number one priority, and that of my government is the safety and security of all Australians,” Turnbull said in a televised news conference Sunday. “The public should be reassured that our security and intelligence agencies are working tirelessly to keep us safe.”
Andrew Colvin, the federal police commissioner, said the raids and arrests were tied to information about a planned attack involving an “improvised device.”
“We believe it’s Islamicinspired terrorism,” Colvin told reporters. “Exactly what is behind this is something we need to investigate fully.”
Turnbull said the plot appeared to be elaborate and not just the work of a lone wolf attacker.
“We face a range of terrorist threats,” the prime minister said. “Some of them are lone actors, who activate very quickly with very little warning. On other occasions, you get quite elaborate conspiracies. This appears to be in that category.”
Justice Minister Michael Keenan said the plot was the 13th significant threat neutralized by authorities since the country raised its terrorism threat level from “medium” to “high” in 2014.
“The primary threat to Australia still remains lone actors, but the events overnight remind us that there is still the ability for people to have sophisticated plots and sophisticated attacks still remain a real threat,” Keenan said. “In light of this information, it’s very important that everyone in Australia remains vigilant.”
Turnbull said increased security measures were being introduced Sunday at all Australian airports.
“Some of the measures will be obvious to the public, some will not be,” he said.
Turnbull urged travelers to “limit the amount of carrying on and checked baggage so far as possible, as this will help to ensure that security screening is efficient.”