The Australian police today arrested three men who planned to attack police stations, courts, churches and embassies in Sydney. These are men aged 20, 23 and 30.

The trio is said to have ties with the Islamic State (IS) terror organization. Two of them are suspected of being a member of a terrorist organization and preparing an attack. The third man is suspected of less serious facts, but the exact charge has not yet been disclosed.

Police say one of the suspects, the 20-year-old man, has been under surveillance by the authorities since last year after he returned from Lebanon. He had made plans there to fight with IS in Afghanistan and to carry out attacks. He may be waiting for life if he is found guilty.

According to the police, the three had similar ideas. The 23-year-old suspect is also being charged with alleged membership of a terrorist organization. The penalty for this is a maximum of ten years. The 30-year-old man may be charged with fraud with unemployment benefits. He also risks ten years in prison.

“There were a number of plans, both international and domestic, that developed at the same time,” said Federal Assistant Commissioner Ian McCartney. Mick Willing of the New South Wales police says the men “know each other through social media,” including chat services WhatsApp and Telegram.

The plans are said to have reached an early stage. The men had not yet purchased weapons and explosives, McCartney said. With the arrest of the three, the Australian police have managed to prevent an attack for the sixteenth time since the threat level was raised in 2014.

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