Counterterrorism raids in Sydney on Thursday were sparked by security intelligence that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) was planning a random, violent attack in Australia as a demonstration of its reach, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said.
About 800 Australian police officers were involved in what was the country’s largest counterterrorism operation, Federal Police Deputy Commissioner Andrew Colvin said. Authorities detained 15 people and raided more than a dozen properties across Sydney.
Abbott said he had been briefed on Wednesday night about the operation, which was prompted by information that an ISIS (also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL) leader in the Middle East was calling on Australian supporters to carry out killings.
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