AUSTRALIAN Federal Police Commissioner Andrew Colvin said the plan was Islamist inspired and likely targeted at the aviation industry.
“Terrorists are becoming very ingenious about figuring out new ways to defeat our security mechanisms,” Commissioner Colvin said.
“We think this (threat) was credible. We do believe it is Islamic-inspired terrorism.”
He would not confirm whether police had discovered an explosive device at the Surry Hills property but said “we have found a number of items that are of great interest”.
When asked if any of the four men arrested were on a terror watch list, Commissioner Colvin said “that’s sensitive information”.
The searches of the five properties raided is expected to go on for days, forcing authorities to seek a court ruling allowing them to keep the men in custody for longer before laying any potential charges.
Justice Minister Michael Keenan said new resources and powers given to anti-terror agencies since 2014 had resulted in 13 major disruptions of domestic terror plots and 70 people being charged through 31 counter-terrorism operations.
“The primary threat to Australians still remains lone actors but the events overnight remind us that there is still the ability for people to have sophisticated plots,” Mr Keenan.
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said
“With terrorism you can’t wait, you can’t wait to put the whole puzzle together, you do have to go early because if you get it wrong the consequences are severe,” Commissioner Fuller said.
“You need to make the decision at some stage, when is the right time to go. Both AFP and NSW Police agreed last night was the right time to go.”