SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australian authorities believe they have foiled a major terrorist attack, arresting 15 people on Tuesday during raids in the country's two biggest cities of Sydney and Melbourne.
The arrests come less than a week after Prime Minister John Howard said Australia received intelligence about a "terrorist threat."
"We believe ... we've disrupted a large-scale operation which, had it been allowed to go through to fruition, we certainly believe would have been catastrophic," New South Wales Police Commissioner Ken Moroney told Australian television.
The Australian Federal Police said 23 house searches were carried out under warrants in suburbs in Sydney and Melbourne early on Tuesday as part of a joint counter-terrorism operation with New South Wales and Victoria state police and the Australian Security Intelligence Organization.
This is a story I will continue to monitor as best I can. Having had the good fortune to stay in the greater Sydney area (North Ryde) for three weeks in late January - early/mid February, this story has a good deal of urgency for me. I'm certainly glad that the Australian authorities were able to stop whatever acts those arrested may have been planning. I also hope that Prabhat, Grant, Gordon, Malcolm, Denis, Colin, Travis, Aya, Alyson, Julie, Judy, Lark, Louise and everyone else at the North Ryde support centre are all safe and sound, and shall remain so because I look forward to seeing you in your beautiful country again some day.