Accused terror trio 'wanted to target place of mass gathering'

A 30-year-old man from Dallas in Melbourne, a 26-year-old man from Campbellfield and a 21-year-old man from Greenvale were arrested during early morning raids in the city’s northwest on Tuesday.

Police will allege the three men arrested were involved in “undertaking preparations for planning a terrorist act”.

All three have since been charged with one count of act in preparation for, or planning of terrorist acts.

He will appear at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.

Victoria Police Commissioner Graham Ashton alleged there was an attempt to purchase a .22 semi-automatic rifle.

Police are seen outside one of the houses involved in counter terrorism raids across the north-western suburbs in Melbourne. Source: AAP

Commissioner Ashton added while no location for the alleged planned attack was specified – there was the view to target a “a place of mass gathering”.

“There was a view towards a crowded place – a place where a maximum amount of people would be attending to be able to kill, we allege, to kill the maximum amount of people as possible,” Comm Ashton said.

He added all three men are Australian but of a Turkish background.

Victoria Police Commissioner Graham Ashton alleged three men planned to attack a crowd of people with a semi-automatic rife. Source: Victoria Police

Australian Federal Police Assistant Commissioner Ian McCartney added two of the three men arrested are related.

The alleged attackers were inspired by ISIS but had no family connections to known terrorists, police said.

The trio had their passports cancelled earlier this year.

The properties were raided in the joint counter terrorism operation involving Victorian and Federal Police and ASIO.

It’s alleged the men were trying to purchase a semi-automatic weapon. Source: AAP

A fourth property was raided in Coolaroo in Melbourne’s north. 

The trio remain in custody, with the operation ongoing.

Police say the threat has been contained.

“Victoria Police would like to reassure the community that the threat has been contained and there is no on-going threat,” police said in a statement. 

“The community should continue to go about their daily business and report any suspicious activity.”

with AAP

Three men were arrested during morning raids. Source: AAP