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Five Australian teenagers were arrested Saturday on suspicion of plotting an Islamic State group-inspired terrorist attack at a Veterans' Day ceremony that included targeting police officers, officials said.
The suspects included two 18-year-olds who are alleged to have been preparing an attack at the ANZAC Day ceremony in Melbourne later this month, Australian Federal Police Acting Deputy Commissioner Neil Gaughan told reporters.
Another 18-year-old was arrested on weapons charges, and two other men, aged 18 and 19, were in custody and assisting police. All the arrests took place in Melbourne.
ANZAC Day is the annual April 25 commemoration of the 1915 Gallipoli landings — the first major military action fought by the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps during World War I. Police said they believe the plot was inspired by ISIS. and was to have involved "edged weapons."
"At this stage, we have no information that it was a planned beheading. But there was reference to an attack on police," Gaughan said. "Some evidence that we have collected at a couple of the scenes, and some other information we have, leads us to believe that this particular matter was ISIS-inspired."
Australia's government has raised the country's terror warning level in response to the domestic threat posed by supporters of ISIS.
In September last year, the group's spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnani issued a message urging attacks abroad, specifically mentioning Australia.
Federal Police Deputy Commissioner Michael Phelan said at a separate news conference that the teens had links to Numan Haider, an 18-year-old who stabbed two Melbourne police officers and was subsequently shot dead in September.
"This is a new paradigm for police," Phelan said. "These types of attacks that are planned are very rudimentary and simple. ... All you need these days is a knife, a flag and a camera and one can commit a terrorist act."
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