The United States Consulate in Melbourne, Australia, has received intelligence indicating a “likely” terror attack on Aussie soil.
The consulate told American citizens in Australia to maintain “a high level of vigilance” and “take appropriate steps” to ensure personal security.
“Australian National Security has stated that a terrorist attack is likely to occur in Australia,” the warning said. “U.S. citizens are strongly encouraged to review your personal security plan, remain aware of your surroundings including local events, and monitor local news stations for updates,” added the security message.
This is believed to be the first time that the Melbourne consulate has ever issued such a warning. The alert came shortly after several high-profile arrests in the past few weeks, in which aspiring jihadis were detained for plotting terrorist attacks. On Monday, Melbourne police arrested two teenagers who were allegedly planning an IED attack. Melbourne Police Commissioner Tim Cartwright said that one of the teens was “well-advanced in preparing a bomb.”
“We do believe the young man intended to explode a device at an event over the coming days,” he added.
Separately, on Friday, Sydney police arrested a man near the Lindt Chocolate Cafe in Martin Place. The Guardian reports that the entire area was locked down prior to the arrest. The man whom police arrested was described as “tall and bearded, aged 25 to 35,” according to reports.
In December, a jihadist who had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State held several hostages at the Lindt cafe during a 16-hour standoff. Two were tragically killed after a police raid on the building neutralized the hostage-taker.
At least 30 Australians have died on Middle East battlefields fighting on behalf of the Islamic State, reports have stated. Over 200 Aussie natives have left their homeland to wage jihad in Syria and Iraq, according to estimates.