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An Australian police forensics officer works near the site of an anti-terror raid in the Lakema suburb of Sydney Saturday. (News Corporation Australia)


Australian authorities report that counter-terrorism agencies have foiled a plot to “bring down” a plane in a terrorist attack in Australia.

Police raided properties in several Sydney suburbs and arrested four men on Saturday.

Four men were arrested on Saturday night when heavily armed counter-terrorism officers raided four Sydney properties over an alleged plot to blow up an aircraft.

The raids related to a bomb plot involving aircraft, Fairfax Media, News Corp. and the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the counterterrorism raids on Saturday afternoon were “designed to disrupt and prevent plans to undertake terrorist attacks in Australia.”

The operation was carried out by the Australian Federal Police, the New South Wales state police and the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, the country’s domestic spy agency, Associated Press reported.

“Four men have been taken into custody and are assisting police with their enquiries,” a police statement said.

Seven Network television reported that 40 riot squad officers stormed an inner-Sydney house before an explosives team found a suspicious device.

Turnbull said he was briefed on the progress of the operation by security agency heads.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has been briefed on the progress of the operation by security agency heads, The Australian reported.

“These operations are designed to disrupt and prevent plans to undertake terrorist attacks in Australia,” the prime minister said in a statement. “My number one priority, and that of my government, is the safety and security of all Australians, and the public should be reassured that our security and intelligence agencies are working tirelessly to keep us safe.” The family who lived in the raided house on Cleveland Street in Surry Hills has been described as “perfectly nice and normal people” by a neighbor whose property backs onto theirs.

“We knew them to say hello to and they seemed nice,” the woman in her early 30s, who didn’t want to be identified, told AAP.

An elderly couple lived in the home, the neighbour said, and they had adult children.

The neighbour came home while the raid was underway and said there were “heaps” of police at the scene.

Cleveland Street remains closed in both directions in Surry Hills between Elizabeth and Crown streets.

“Motorists are advised to avoid the area or allow plenty of extra travel time,” a Transport Management Center spokesman said in a statement.

This is a developing story.

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