EXTREMISTS arrested in Australia's largest counter-terrorism operation were planning to snatch a random member of the public off the street in Sydney and behead them, police told Daily Mail Australia, in an attack bearing the brutal hallmarks of the Islamic State.
Fifteen people were detained in pre-dawn raids on homes in Sydney and Brisbane by NSW and Queensland state police and the Australian Federal Police.
Just one has been charged so far, with serious terrorism-related offences, and was due to appear in a Sydney court later today, police said.
"Police believe that this group that we have executed this operation on today had the intention, and had started to carry out planning, to commit violent acts here in Australia," AFP Acting Commissioner Andrew Colvin told reporters in Sydney. "
Those violent acts particularly related to random acts against members of the public."
Police sources revealed more details to Daily Mail Australia, that the plot involved abducting a member of the public in Sydney and beheading them.
ABC reported that the abducted member of the public would be draped in an Islamic State flag and beheaded on camera.
A similar attack occurred on British Army soldier, Lee Rigby, in May 2013.
Quoting Canberra sources, the Nine Network reported an attack was imminent.
This morning's raids occurred in several suburbs of Sydney and Brisbane. Twenty-five search warrants were executed in Sydney alone.
AFP Commissioner Colvin said: "It is the largest operation of its type undertaken in Australia's history."
Police revealed officers had to use force to detain three people.
One Sydney man involved in the raids was reportedly taken to hospital with injuries he claims he received from police.
A photo of the man, obtained by the ABC, shows bruising around his eye.
Around 12 homes were searched in Sydney's northwest suburbs by NSW Police and Australian Federal Police.
Police executed search warrants in Beecroft, Bellavista, Guildford, Merrylands, Northmead, Wentworthville, Marsfield, Westmead, Castle Hill, Revesby, Bass Hill and Regents Park.
The AFP also carried out three search warrants in Brisbane in the suburbs of Mount Gravatt East, Logan and Underwood.
The Queensland raids were not directly related to the operations in Sydney.
The arrests in Sydney follow months of surveillance of people linked to the terrorist group Islamic State, which has been cutting a barbaric path through Iraq and Syria.
"25 search warrants across Sydney have been executed and there is one person who has been charged with serious terrorism related offences," Acting Commissioner Colvin said.
"The operation commenced earlier this year and the police believe that they had the intention and had started to carry out planning the attack here in Australia particularly related to random acts to members of the public."
It's believed those arrested in Sydney could have links to a Brisbane man now facing terrorism related charges.
The search warrants carried out in Queensland are a follow up to the previous terror investigation in Queensland last week.
"We are investigating links between the two investigations in Sydney today and Queensland last week, it's too early to speculate about what those linkages are," Mr Colvin said.
NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione told reporters Sydney residents will see large numbers of police in public places in the coming days.
"There will be 220 police very visible dealing with any troublemakers," Mr Scipione said, in what is known as Operation Hammerhead.
OPERATION APPLEBY: THE FACTS
On Thursday 18 September a series of pre-dawn raids were carried out in what has been declared as Australia's largest ever counter-terrorism operation.
• 25 search warrants were executed
• 10 warrants were undertaken in relation to vehicles
• 800 NSW police and AFP officers were involved
• 15 people were arrested
• One man has been charged so far with serious terrorism related offences
• Homes were searched in at least 12 suburbs in the city's north-west including Beecroft, Bella Vista, Guildford, Merrylands, Northmead, Wentworthville, Marsfield, Westmead, Castle Hill, Revesby, Bass Hill and Regents Park
• A series of raids related to last week's raids in Brisbane were carried out
• Police are investigating links to the Sydney terror suspects
• 70 officers were involved in the raids
• Last week two men were arrested in Brisbane and appeared in court charged with terrorism-related offences
• Homes in the Brisbane suburbs of Mount Gravatt East, Logan and Underwood were raided as part of the coordinated operation on Thursday
EARLIER: Raids stops terrorist plot to commit 'serious violence'
A PLOT to unleash "serious violence" on an unsuspecting member of the New South Wales public has brought together more than 800 police officers to swoop on properties in 12 Sydney suburbs this morning.
There is speculation that this plot related to the beheading of a random citizen in a public place, although police are yet to discuss any specific threat in detail.
A simultaneous wave of raids targeted 25 homes in New South Wales, leading to 15 people being detained for questioning.
About 70 officers in Queensland raided homes in Brisbane's Mt Gravatt East and Underwood in Logan, but these were not directly related to the looming NSW threat.
At a press conference, Australian Federal Police acting Commissioner Andrew Colvin said one person has been charged in the Sydney raids.
He said the actions, which NSW Police have referred to as Operation Appleby were designed to stop "violent acts particularly related to random acts against members of the public".
"So what we saw today and the operation that continues was very much about police disrupting the potential for violence against the Australian community at the earliest possible opportunity," Act Comm Colvin said.
The raids were conducted following information received in a Queensland raid on an Islamic Centre last week.
NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said the attack has now been "disrupted" and it was time for calm.
"You know it is of serious concern that right at the heart of our communities we have people that are planning to conduct random attacks," he said.
"Today we work together to make sure that didn't happen."
See photos released by AFP in photo gallery below:
Commissioner Scipione said a new ongoing operation in NSW named "Hammerhead" will ensure there are no reprisals that would "create trauma within communities."
"There will be over 220 NSW police, very visible, out and about dealing with any troublemakers, as I've already said
"Now is the time for calm."
Minister: Raids show the 'very real threat of attack' on Australia
COUNTER-terrorism raids underway in Brisbane and Sydney show "the very real threat" of attack, according to Immigration Minister Scott Morrison.
New South Wales Police are now publishing information on Twitter about the arrests, referring to the raids as "Operation Appleby".
Mr Morrison appeared on ABC's AM program this morning but when questioned, gave away little.
More information would be revealed later in the day by Attorney-General George Brandis.
"I think the scale of what we're seeing in this ongoing operation this morning over 600 people officers involved I think demonstrates the very real threat that's there and the incredibly good work which is being done by our agencies," Mr Morrison said.
The Minister said the police involved in the raids should be commended.
When asked of his view on whether Australians and particularly the Islamic community may feel threatened by these raids, Mr Morrison said the government was working broadly with the Islamic community.
Queensland Premier Campbell Newman told ABC he would not discuss the raids because they were an "operational matter".
The raids are understood to be linked to an earlier anti-terorrism operation in Queensland last week.
The two men arrested are accused of helping recruit people to fight in Syria.
Australia's largest anti-terrorism raids in Brisbane, Sydney
A MASSIVE anti-terrorism operation is underway in Brisbane and Sydney, understood to be the largest of its kind in Australia's history.
Teams from the Australian Federal Police, New South Wales Police and Queensland Police Service are involved.
Hundreds of police are involved in the raids, taking place in 12 suburbs across north-western Sydney and Brisbane's south.
At least 600 officers were involved in the NSW operation.
National media is reporting that while several people have been arrested in Brisbane, there are yet to be any arrests announced.
Police executed search warrants in the Sydney suburbs of Beecroft, Bellavista, Guildford, Merrylands, Northmead, Wentworthville, Marsfield, Westmead, Castle Hill, Revesby, Bass Hill and Regents Park, according to the AFP.
The ABC reports that neighbourhoods in Guildford heard "loud speakers" and helicopters overhead, with raids also including sniffer dogs.
In Brisbane, police targeted suburbs of Mt Gravatt East and Underwood at Logan.
In a statement, the AFP described the operation as "ongoing" with further updates to come.
On Friday last week, the Federal Government lifted the national terror alert rating to high.
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