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U.K. Teen Arrested in Connection With Alleged Australian Terror Plot

A 14-year-old boy was arrested in Blackburn, near Manchester, in connection with an alleged terror plot targeting an Anzac Day event in Australia.
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/ Source: NBC News

LONDON — A 14-year-old has been arrested in England in connection with an alleged ISIS-inspired terror plot to target a World War I centenary event 10,500 miles away in Australia, police said Monday.

The teenage boy was detained in Blackburn after officers "uncovered communication" between him and a man in Australia, Greater Manchester Police said in a statement.

The communication represented a "credible terrorist threat," Detective Chief Superintendent Tony Mole of the U.K.’s North West Counter Terrorism Unit said.

The teenager was first arrested on "suspicion of preparing for an act of terrorism" on April 2, the statement said, after officers examined "a number of electronic devices." He was bailed, but arrested again Saturday on suspicion of "being concerned in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism." He remained in police custody for questioning as of Monday, the statement added.

Australian officials confirmed the boy’s arrest was connected with a counter-terror operation in Melbourne that saw one 18-year-old charged with "conspiracy to commit acts done in preparation for, or planning, terrorist acts" and another teenager the same age kept in custody.

The teens in Australia were arrested on suspicion of planning "terrorist acts in Melbourne," according to a joint statement by the Australian Federal Police and Victoria Police. This terror plot involved targeting police officers, the statement added, as well as a ceremony commemorating Anzac Day, which remembers the 1915 Gallipoli landings by the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC).

Police told reporters on Saturday that they believe the plot was inspired by ISIS and involved "edged weapons," according to Reuters.

- Alexander Smith

Reuters contributed to this report.