SYDNEY- An Australian Islamic community center linked to five men arrested for planning an attack at a World War One centenary event said on Thursday that it was closing immediately, citing harassment.
More than 200 police launched a series of raids in the southern city of Melbourne on Saturday following a month-long sting operation aimed at disrupting the alleged plot.
Victorian state Premier Daniel Andrews said the men were "associates" of Abdul Numan Haider, an Islamic State sympathizer who was shot dead last year after he stabbed police officers, and who was known to have attended the Al-Furqan Islamic Centre in Melbourne.
Al-Furqan said in a statement on its website that it would shut its doors immediately, citing what it called harassment from the media, police and government.
"We believe that given the constant harassment, pressure and false accusations leveled against the center ... this is the best course of action for the protection of the local community, its members, and the broader Muslim community that is often implicated in these insidious campaigns," it said.
The run-up to this year's centenary of the landings at Gallipoli - a major holiday in Australia and New Zealand - has been has been marred by concerns that radicals may target the celebrations for a high-profile attack.