World

Plans for bomb attack on plane foiled

4 men arrested, security increased at Australian airports

SYDNEY: Security has been increased at Australian airports after police foiled "Islamic-inspired" plans for a bomb attack on an aircraft during counter-terrorism raids in which four men were arrested on Saturday, the Australian Federal Police confirmed.

"In recent days, law enforcement has become aware of information that suggested some people in Sydney were planning to commit a terrorist act using an improvised device," police commissioner Andrew Colvin said during a press conference with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull yesterday.

He added: "We do believe it is Islamic-inspired terrorism. Exactly what is behind this is something that we will need to investigate fully.

"At this time, we don't have a great deal of information on the specific attack, the location, date or time. However, we are investigating information indicating that the aviation industry was potentially a target..."

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) said police found items that could be used to make a home-made bomb in one of the raided homes.

Authorities believed they planned to smuggle the device onto a plane to blow it up, the ABC added.

Five properties were searched on Saturday across the Sydney suburbs of Surry Hills, Lakemba, Punchbowl and Wiley Park.

The commissioner said four of those searches may continue for days.

A police spokesman said the men had not been charged as of yesterday morning.

Mr Turnbull said advice from Australian security and intelligence agencies had led to increased security measures at Sydney airport on Thursday, while the country's other airports were affected from Saturday.

MEASURES

"Some of the measures will be obvious to the public, some will not be," Mr Turnbull said.

Commissioner Colvin said travellers could expect an increased police and security presence at airports.

"You can expect longer delays to make sure that more screening is being done on baggage, both hold luggage as well as hand luggage," he said, adding that travellers should allow more time to get through security. - REUTERS

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