2014 Australian counter-terrorism raids
On the morning of 18 September 2014, police in Australia carried out the biggest counter-terrorism operation in the nation's history, with over 800 heavily armed officers targeting households in the cities of Sydney and Brisbane. It came days after the Australian government raised the terror threat from medium to high due to concerns about Australian citizens returning to the country after fighting with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Following the raids, two people were charged, one with terrorism offences and the other for possession of an unauthorised firearm.
25 homes were raided in Bass Hill, Revesby, Regents Park and elsewhere. The raids were triggered after the interception of one phone call. Computers, documents and a firearm were collected during the raid. Fifteen people were detained and eleven people were subsequently charged with terrorism offences.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott stated that a senior Australian member of ISIL had called for "demonstration killings" including a public beheading. Omarjan Azari, 22, was charged with conspiring to commit these acts.
The cancellation of passports of those wanting to fight overseas for extremists causes as well as resentment towards Australia's role in the recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have been raised as possible motivations behind the alleged terrorist planning. After the raids, Imraan Husain, an Imam from the Gold Coast, warned that sending troops to the Middle East could marginalise local Muslim youth, especially those who follow jihadists on social media.
Between 200 and 400 Muslims in Sydney protested the raids at Lakemba railway station the night after the morning raids. The protesters, organised by Hizb ut-Tahrir, cited "police brutality" and "political hysteria". Wassim Doureihi, a prominent member of the group, said "Let me say clearly even if a single bomb went off even if a thousand bombs went off in this country all it will prove is that Muslims are angry."
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