Australian police said Friday they arrested seven people as part of an investigation into a plot to attack central Melbourne on or around Christmas Day.
The suspects had been inspired by the Islamic State group and planned attacks on Melbourne’s Flinders Street train station, neighboring Federation Square and St. Paul’s Cathedral, Victoria state Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton said.
The arrests came after a truck smashed into a Christmas market in Berlin on Monday, killing 12 people. A manhunt is underway for the person behind that attack, which prompted increases in security around the world.
“We are approaching the Christmas season – a time when we come together in peace and love with our families. We congregate in public places for Christmas, for New Year’s Eve,”
“It is a time of happiness and joy. These terrorists sought to disrupt it. They have been thwarted. They are in custody. They are no longer a threat to Australia’s security.”