Counterterrorism Win: Australia Busts 15 ISIS Operatives Who were Planning Public Beheadings

One sweet victory for Australia against ISIS. Hopefully they can weed out the rest of those ISIS scum.

Australian counterterrorism forces detained 15 people Thursday in a series of suburban raids after receiving intelligence that the Islamic State militant group was planning public beheadings in two Australian cities to demonstrate its reach.

About 800 federal and state police officers raided more than a dozen properties across 12 Sydney suburbs as part of the operation — the largest in Australian history, Australian Federal Police Deputy Commissioner Andrew Colvin told the Associated Press. A sword was removed as part of evidence at one of the homes.

Separate raids in the eastern cities of Brisbane and Logan were also conducted.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported that the plan involved kidnapping randomly selected members of the public off the streets in Sydney and Brisbane, beheading them on camera, and releasing the recordings through Islamic State’s propaganda arm in the Middle East.

Later Thursday, Attorney General George Brandis confirmed that a person born in Afghanistan who had spent time in Australia and is now working with the Islamic State group in the Middle East ordered supporters in Australia to behead people and videotape the killings.

“If the … police had not acted today, there is a likelihood that this would have happened,” Brandis told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Brandis did not name the Australian. But Mohammad Ali Baryalei, who is believed to be Australia’s most senior member of the Islamic State group, was named as a co-conspirator in court documents filed Thursday. Police have issued an arrest warrant for Baryalei, a 33-year-old former Sydney nightclub bouncer.

A 22-year-old Sydney man, Omarjan Azari, appeared in court Thursday and is accused of conspiring with Baryalei and others to act in preparation for or plan a terrorist act or acts.

Prosecutor Michael Allnutt said he was involved in a “plan to commit extremely serious offenses” that was “clearly designed to shock and horrify” the public. It is not immediately clear what sentence Azari faces if convicted. The accused did not apply for bail and did not enter a plea. His next court appearance was set for November 13.

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