Hours after PM Tony Abbott warned of heightened “terrorist chatter” that may imperil Australia, counter-terror police on Wednesday arrested two men, one of them possessing documents detailing the plot of a terror attack.
Out of the two, one is 20-year-old and accused of holding a document that shows a planned terrorist attack on a government target. Other one is a 21-year-old who was arrested for not following a control order issued by a judge.
The arrests come in the aftermath of Sydney’s Lindt Cafe siege, which highlighted how Islamic State can fuel lone wolf attacks in the country. PM Abbott had in September cautioned against such attacks and since then authorities have conducted a series of raids in order to crack down on possible IS enthusiasts.
Man Haron Monis, a self-styled sheikh, held hostages at gunpoint at the Lindt Chocolate café in Martin Place, a central Sydney shopping and office precinct, from mid-morning on Monday last week.
Two hostages, café manager Tori Johnson and lawyer Katrina Dawson were killed along with Monis when police stormed the café. An official investigation into the final moments of the siege and the deaths of all three is underway.
As memorial services were held for the two victims of the 16-hour siege a week ago, Abbott warned that the public needed to remain alert as the country headed into Christmas and New Year celebrations.
“The national security agencies today indicated that there has been a heightened level of terrorist chatter in the aftermath of the Martin Place siege,” Abbott told reporters in Sydney.
“I’m alerting people to the fact that the terror level remains high and at this level an attack is likely,” Abbott said.
A huge carpet of thousands of bouquets of flowers in Martin Place was removed early on Tuesday as thunderstorms threatened to drench the city. The flowers will be crushed into mulch and scattered at a site to be determined.