Three Muslims are arrested accused of ‘ideologically-motivated’ assault and arson attack

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Three ‘Islamic extremists’ are arrested accused of ‘ideological-motivated’ assault and arson attack

  • Three men, aged 16, 19, and 20 were arrested by counter terrorism officers
  • Police allege the 19-year-old attempted to engage in a terrorist act in Melbourne
  • Arrests relate to fire on February 18 and alleged assault on individual last week

By Eliza Mcphee For Daily Mail Australia, 17 March 2021

Three men have been arrested by counter terrorism police officers in Victoria over an alleged ideologically motivated attack.

A 19-year-old allegedly attempted to engage in a terrorist act in Melbourne, police say.

He is currently being interviewed by police in relation to suspected terrorism offences.

A 20-year-old man from Epping is also in custody while a 16-year-old from Pascoe Vale was released after further inquiries.

Assistant Commissioner Michael Hermans said in a press conference the investigation relates to a fire on February 18 near Epping, and an alleged assault on an individual in Melbourne’s CBD last week.

‘The circumstances of those two incidents are being investigated to determine the extent to which they may or may not lead to terrorism charges,’ he said.

Police say there will likely be no further arrests but the operation is ongoing.

The incidents were allegedly ideologically motivated and Islamic-based, and two of the men arrested are related to each other.

The houses of those arrested were raided on Wednesday.

Footage released by police shows the 19-year-old man being walked into the Australian Federal Police headquarters.

Mr Hermans said the young ages of the men arrested was ‘very concerning’ while AFP Assistant Commissioner Scott Lee said Covid-19 had ‘exacerbated’ radicalisation in younger people.

Police say there will likely be no further arrests but the operation is ongoing

‘It’s a phenomenon we see regularly now with our counter terrorism, regardless of the ideology,’ he said.

‘The magnification of the online environment, what that means for the radicalisation of these young individuals…. that is certainly what we have seen out of the COVID period.

‘People have been driven into the online environment, and that has exacerbated some of the radicalisation we have seen.’

No charges have been laid yet and police have assured the public there is no ongoing threat.

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