Militants with a connection to Islamic State the radical militant group were plotting a beheading of member of the Australian public, said Tony Abbott the Prime Minister on Thursday after police raided a number of homes in a sweeping operation of counter terrorism.
Abbott announced that there was a significant risk of a terrorist attack only days after the country increased its national threat level for terrorism to high for only the first time. Officials cited the likelihood of radicalized Australians returning from Syrian and Iraq attacking in the country.
Australia is worried about the number of citizens it has that are believed to be fighting with the militant groups overseas, including one suicide bomber who in Baghdad in July killed himself and three others. Two other men were seen in images across social media holding heads that had been severed of soldiers from Syria.
Over 800 police helped with the security operation that took place in the pre-dawn hours of Thursday in Brisbane and Sydney, which was said to be the largest in the history of Australia and resulted in 15 people being detained, said police officials.
Abbott spoke afterwards at a news conference saying that members from a radical group had been planning to hold a beheading in public.
He said that intelligence is what they had received.
Media reported the plans included taking a person at random from Sydney, the largest city in Australia and executing them live on camera draped with the black flag of the radical group.
Abbott said word had been passed from a senior member of Islamic State to different networks of support in Australia to conduct the demonstration killings. He was charged with conspiracy to commit an act of terrorism and will be held until a November hearing said authorities.
Michael Allnut a prosecutor told the Sydney court that an attack had been planned that was designed to horrify, shock and likely terrify our community.
A lawyer representing Azari said the entire allegation was based on a single phone conversation. He said he would not apply for bail for his client.