Two ‘Islamic extremists’ are charged with attempting to carry out a terror act after an ‘ideologically-motivated’ assault and arson attack
- A 19-year-old and 20-year-old male were arrested alongside a 16-year-old boy
- The 16-year-old was released yesterday afternoon after raids in Melbourne
- The two other men are charged with attempting a terrorist act
Two young Melbourne men suspected of having religious extremist motivations are facing terrorism charges over a fire and assault.
The 19-year-old and 20-year-old Epping men were arrested along with a 16-year-old Pascoe Vale boy in separate joint counter-terrorism raids in Melbourne’s north on Wednesday.
The 19-year-old will appear before Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Thursday charged with an attempted terrorist act, intentionally causing injury, an act in preparation of a terrorist act and membership of a prescribed terrorist organisation (ISIS).
The 19-year-old and 20-year-old Epping men were arrested along with a 16-year-old Pascoe Vale boy in separate joint counter-terrorism raids in Melbourne’s north on Wednesday (pictured 19-year-old being led away by AFP officers)
The 20-year-old is also due to appear before Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Thursday charged with one count of an attempted terrorist act.
The 16-year-old boy was released without charge.
The trio came to the attention of police after a fire in bushland about 30 minutes from Epping on February 18 and an assault in a public place in metropolitan Melbourne on March 10.
Investigators believe the incidents may have been motivated by Islamic ‘religious extremism’.
Police say there will likely be no further arrests but the operation is ongoing
A 19-year-old allegedly attempted to engage in a terrorist act in Melbourne, police say
Assistant Commissioner Scott Lee of the Australian Federal Police’s counter-terrorism and special investigations unit said the nature of fire, in particular, had stoked their suspicions.
‘There is an ideology, and a violent extremist ideology, that has caused us concern, and it’s as a result of that ideology that we’re looking at these incidents being connected to a terrorism motivation,’ he told reporters on Wednesday.
‘There are certain aspects to the lighting of the fire that leads us to suspect it was a terrorism motivation.’
With all three suspects aged 20 or under, Mr Lee said counter-terrorism teams across the globe were encountering a ‘younger and younger’ demographic, with the Covid-19 pandemic pushing more kids online and exacerbating the problem.