An unprecedented major terrorist attack targeting major Melbourne landmarks on Christmas Day has been foiled by a major multi-agency operation between the Australian Federal Police (AFP), Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) and Victorian Police.
The attack was to target landmarks including St Paul’s Cathedral, Federation Square and Flinders Street Station. Explosive devices were set to be used at the locations; the suspects were also planning to following up the explosion with attacks on their victims with guns and knives.
Five male suspects aged between 20 to 25 have been arrested and charged with acts in preparation of a terrorist event. Four of the five are Australian born with some having a Lebanese background and one was born in Egypt. A further two were arrested but since released.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has held a press conference and has assured Melbournians that there will be increased police presence on Melbourne streets over the Christmas and New Year period.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has referred to the attacks as “one of the most substantial terrorist plots that have been disrupted in recent years.”
Malcolm Turnbull has failed to call out these Islamic terrorist again, simply referring to them as criminals “What these criminals seek to do is kill us but they also seek to frighten us, to get us to abandon our Australian way of life.
He went on to then deny the widening divide between everyday Australians and the Muslim community “They want to divide Australians. We will not let them succeed.” Turnbull said.
Opposition leader Bill Shorten was dismissive of the threat that Islamic terrorism presents to our nation stating that we should go on with enjoying our Christmas season and “the few extremists in our community who would wish to disrupt the Australian way of life, they win when we give up.”
His comments that it’s just a few are sure to be frowned upon by a growing hostility in our community about government inaction on the threat, since September 2014 there has been 12 major plots thwarted with over 57 people charged.
It is clear that this on-going threat is not going away anytime soon and as the numbers of plots are thwarted as well as successful attacks take place, eventually the government needs to stop using the line “just a few” and realise the clear and present danger.