MOSCOW, September 18 (RIA Novosti) – Australian police detained 15 people Thursday as part of a counterterrorism operation, which was launched after a terror warning was raised in the country in response to the domestic threat posed by supporters of the Islamic State (IS) militant group, the Associated Press reported.
"Police believe that this group that we have executed this operation on today had the intention and had started to carry out planning to commit violent acts here in Australia," Australian Federal Police Deputy Commissioner Andrew Colvin said as quoted by the Associated Press Wednesday.
"Those violent acts particularly related to random acts against members of the public. So what we saw today and the operation that continues was very much about police disrupting the potential for violence against the Australian community at the earliest possible opportunity," Colvin added.
According to Colvin, about 800 federal and state police officers have raided more than a dozen properties across Sydney as part of the operation, which is the largest in Australian history. Separate raids in the eastern Australian cities of Brisbane and Logan were also conducted.
On Sunday, highlighting the risk of homegrown militants returning from the Middle East, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott pledged to send combat aircraft and 600 military personnel to join a US-led coalition fighting IS militants in Iraq.
On September 10, US President Barack Obama announced plans to defeat the IS, stating that the United States will "lead a broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat."
The IS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), is a Sunni jihadist group that has been fighting the Syrian government since 2012. In June 2014, the group extended its attacks to northern and western Iraq, declaring a caliphate on the territories under its control later that month.