Travel Risks Stemming from Australian Anti-Terror Operation
31 Jul 2017
Counter-terror police in Sydney, Australia, engaged in a series of raids across the country’s largest city in response to intelligence suggesting a planned terror attack. The raids, on 30 July 2017, were in response to a suspected plot to bring down an aeroplane. Police reportedly seized materials that could have been used to create an explosive device. Police have confirmed that the four people arrested have been linked to an Islamist-inspired plot.
- Australian counter-terror police in Sydney have reportedly foiled an imminent terror attack.
- Security forces claimed to have prevented a plan to bring down a plane.
- Australian authorities have increased security at airports, causing some travel delays.
Terrorism: Counter-terror police in Sydney, Australia, engaged in a series of raids across the country’s largest city in response to intelligence suggesting a planned terror attack. The raids, on 30 July 2017, were in response to a suspected plot to bring down an aeroplane. Police reportedly seized materials that could have been used to create an explosive device. Police have confirmed that the four people arrested have been linked to an Islamist-inspired plot.
The raids took place in the Sydney suburbs of Surry Hills, Lakemba, Wiley Park, and Punchbowl. Despite the raids, intelligence and security services in Australia have maintained the terror threat level at “probable” (the middle of Australia’s terror scale). This is the first terror plot in Australia involving an aircraft.
Solace Global Comment
These terror raids and arrests come nearly two months after a serious incident in Melbourne, Victoria. The attack in Melbourne involved a lone gunman who killed a man and held a woman hostage. The concurrent raids across Sydney were in preparation for a coordinated, and according to police, a sophisticated attack, rather than a lone wolf terror event, as has recently been the trend in terror attacks in Europe and the one previously in Melbourne. It is unclear if those arrested had links to any specific terror groups and no specific charges have been made at this time.
Police have noted that they did not have any specific intelligence on the type of attack, its location, date, or time. Understandably, security has been heightened at the country’s airports. Long delays have been reported at Sydney and Melbourne airports – the country’s two busiest airports. At Sydney Airport, queues for Qantas airlines had stretched out of the terminal doors. It is unclear for how long these security precautions will last, authorities have only said that they will be in place for as long as they are required.
Travellers have been advised to arrive at least two hoursâ early for domestic flights and to limit the number of carry-on bags and checked luggage to allow safe passage through security. Travellers should also note that federal and state police have also increased their presence at the airport. In order to make the experience quicker, travellers should ensure they adhere to the instruction of security personnel at the airport. Travellers should also plan for increased delays en route to the countryâs airports.
If these arrests are part of a larger terror network, travellers should expect further raids in major cities in the coming days and weeks. These arrests should also highlight that there is still a terror threat in Australia, despite the low risk rating.
Solace Global would not advise clients of the need to employ enhanced security measures in Australia. It is important that travellers maintain sensible security precautions and situational awareness at all times in the country. Travellers should also use a travel-tracking platform with an intelligence feed to stay aware of security updates and to inform others in case of an emergency.
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