Australian police officer [File].
(photo credit: REUTERS)
SYDNEY - Australian counterterrorism police said on Wednesday they had thwarted an imminent attack linked to the Islamic State group after arresting two men in Sydney on Tuesday.
"When we did the search of the premises, a number of items were located, including a machete, a hunting knife, a home-made flag representing the prescribed terrorist organization IS, and also a video which depicted a man talking about carrying out an attack," New South Wales Deputy Police Commissioner Catherine Burn told reporters.
"We will allege that both of these men were preparing to do this act yesterday."
In December, two hostages died as police stormed a cafe in central Sydney, ending a 17-hour siege
. The gunman, Man Haron Monis, a self-styled sheik who harboured deep grievances against the Australian government and sought to align himself with the Islamic State militant group, was also killed.
A number of raids have taken place in Sydney and Melbourne since Australia raised its national terror threat level to "high" for the first time in September, citing the likelihood of attacks by Australians radicalised in Iraq or Syria.
Australia, a staunch ally of the United States and its action against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, believes at least 70 citizens were fighting in the region, backed by about 100 Australia-based "facilitators".