Fifteen people have been detained in relation to serious terrorism related offences during a major NSW Joint Counter Terrorism (JCTT) operation in Sydney today.
More than 800 officers from the AFP and NSW Police Force conducted 25 search warrants across Sydney this morning in the suburbs of Beecroft, Bellavista, Guildford, Merrylands, Northmead, Wentworthville, Marsfield, Westmead, Castle Hill, Revesby, Bass Hill and Regents Park.
Fifteen warrants have been undertaken at Sydney premises this morning, with a further 10 warrants undertaken in relation to vehicles.
The operation follows the Joint Counter Terrorism Team investigation of a group of people located in Sydney alleged to have the intent to carry out random attacks on individuals here in Australia.
Police believe this group was actively preparing for the attacks however there is no information regarding a specific attack, including dates, time or location.
The warrants were undertaken today to prevent the group’s planning activities at the earliest opportunity, and collect further evidence.
AFP Acting Commissioner Andrew Colvin said the purpose of today’s action was to keep the community safe.
“The police activity today was about preventing this group at the earliest possible opportunity and ensuring their plans did not come to fruition,” Acting AFP Commissioner Colvin said.
“Law enforcement agencies will continue to work together to combat threats before they become a reality.”
NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said today’s operation reflects the reality of the threat we face and also the strength and capability of the counter terrorism agencies state and federal.
“It is of serious concern that in the heart of our community there have been plans to conduct a random attack. We know there were plans on foot and we have been able to disrupt that.”
“Our police will continue to work tirelessly to prevent any such attacks but I stress this is a time for calm. “
“We want people to continue to enjoy the freedoms that make our country such a wonderful and harmonious country.”
“In NSW you will see an increased police in the days and weeks ahead.
We are launching Operation Hammerhead as of today and we will be focusing on transport hubs, places where people gather in large numbers, iconic locations and critical infrastructure.”
“And as always, we do want to public to remain vigilant and tells us if they notice something that doesn’t look right,” Commissioner Scipione said.
The JCTT comprises of the AFP, NSW Police and ASIO.
The investigation remains ongoing, and further arrests have not been ruled out.
Members of the community are encouraged to report suspicious activity to the National Security Hotline on 1800 123 400.