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Counter Terror Police Swoop On Melbourne Suburb In Connection To Brighton Attack

A 32-year-old male has been arrested for allegedly aiding and abetting the commission of a terrorist act.

09/06/2017 6:30 AM AEST | Updated 09/06/2017 9:49 AM AEST
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Police start their investigations following Monday's deadly attack in Brighton.

A 32-year-old man has been arrested during a series of counter terrorism raids in Melbourne's northern suburbs on Friday morning following Monday's deadly siege in the seaside suburb of Brighton.

Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton said that the man was currently being interviewed by police for aiding and abetting the commission and engagement of a terrorist act however stressed that police had found no links tying the 32-year-old personally to terrorism.

More than 150 officers were involved in simultaneously executing warrants just before 5am on Friday morning at Ascot Vale, Glenroy and Gladstone Park.

A 31-year-old man from Gladstone Park and his 51-year-old father are being questioned by police but have not been arrested.

Patton said that there was "no intelligence or evidence at this stage to suggest that there is any connection" with terrorism, however investigations were concerned with the provision of firearms to lone gunman Yacqub Khayre who carried out Monday's deadly terror attack in Brighton.

Victoria Police
Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton has said the investigations are very much still active.

"This morning we have located an imitation shotgun...the investigation is still ongoing, the searches are still active," Patton said.

"There is a potential for us executing further warrants in the next short period of time."

Earlier on Friday morning, Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews told Sky News that a number of warrants were being executed in Melbourne.

A caller to radio station 3AW described seeing "10 to 15 police searching rubbish bins" in the suburb of Ascot Vale while a garbage truck was also pulled over, The Age reported.

A witness told 7News that he saw police "flipping the lids off bins and looking inside them" on Friday morning and that the special operations group "was driving like mad".

"Victoria Police and their partners within the Joint Counter Terrorism Team are conducting a police operation in the northern suburbs this morning," a statement by police read.

"As this relates to an ongoing investigation, it is not appropriate to comment further.

"The safety of the community and our members is paramount and more information will be released when it is safe to do so."

Lone gunman Yacqub Khayre, 29, took a Colombian escort captive in Brighton on Monday during a deadly siege in which he also killed 36-year-old Kai Hao.

The Victorian Adult Parole Board has faced intense criticism after it was revealed that Khayre -- who was shot dead by police -- had been recently released on parole despite having a history of violence and being on a terror watch list.

Friday's counter-terror operation has coincided with the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting to be held in Hobart, where Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is expected to speak with state and territory leaders on ways to tighten parole for people linked to terror.

Victoria's Premier, Daniel Andrews, told reporters on Friday morning that rather than solely focusing on parole laws, the government needed to look at expanding the scope of Australia's terror laws.

"These laws can't just operate for the most serious offenders, we also need to look at expanding these laws for other people who, on paper, may be a lower level threat but can do enormous damage and have deadly consequences," he said.

"I want ASIO and the AFP at the table helping the boards to make the decisions. They, after all, have the best information."

Andrews also called for the Federal Government to implement 24/7 anti-terror security at Australian airports and share the technology to disable phones in an emergency.

"There's at least 30 minutes for the special operations group in the city in Melbourne to get out to the airport," he said.

"At the end of the day our Federal airports are just that. They are Federal assets.

"We can't any longer assume that state police will be there when they're needed without proper support from the Commonwealth...We should agree -- let's all do more to keep our airports safe."

The Premier stressed that people who believed terror-related threats and dangers "start and end with parole" are "dangerously wrong".

"I think that we can probably agree today on some reform in relation to parole. What I'm saying is that we need to go further than that," he said.

"If we can't at this meeting, well then the Victorian Government will do what we have to do to keep Victorians safe."

The use of facial recognition cameras to prevent terror attacks at public events, such as next year's Commonwealth Games, is also expected to be on the COAG agenda.

The technology will reportedly be used on the Gold Coast's public transport network including trains, trams and buses to identify potential terror suspects before they can reach the venue, NewsCorp reported.

Speaking on the Seven Network's Sunrise, Senator Derryn Hinch said that he expected most Australians would accept the technology's implementation.

"Sadly, we have to have it, we have to have a big brother approach," he said.

"If you're a terrorist, you lose your civil rights."

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