Police in Australia arrested 16 terror suspects, including a prominent radical Muslim cleric, in a string of raids in the early hours of Tuesday and said they had foiled a major terror attack.
A lawyer for eight of the men said among those arrested is a leading Algerian-Australian cleric who has said that while the killing of innocents is wrong, he would be violating his faith if he warned his students against joining the jihad, or holy war, in Iraq.
400 officers, including federal and state police, were involved in raids in Sydney.
The Australian Federal Police said in a statement that eight men were arrested in Sydney and nine in Melbourne in the coordinated raids that also netted evidence including chemicals, weapons, computers and backpacks.
The arrests followed a 16-month investigation by federal and state police and intelligence agents.