Police: Militants planned raid on Australian base

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August 5, 2009 04:34

 
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A handful of extremists with ties to an al-Qaida-linked group in Somalia planned to storm one of Australia's largest military bases and launch a fight to the death with troops, police said Tuesday. Police revealed details of the alleged plot after arresting four suspects - Australian citizens aged between 22 and 26 with Somali and Lebanese origins - in pre-dawn raids Tuesday on 19 houses in the southern city of Melbourne, the culmination of a seven-month intelligence operation. A fifth man already in custody on an unrelated assault charge was also being questioned about the plot, police said. "Potentially this would have been, if it had been able to be carried out, the most serious terrorist attack on Australian soil," acting Australian Federal Police chief Tony Negus told reporters.

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