Four people were arrested in the Australian city of Sydney on Saturday in raids, which Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said were aimed at thwarting terrorist attacks in the country.
“These operations are designed to disrupt and prevent plans to undertake terrorist attacks in Australia,” he said in an emailed statement.
“I have been kept closely briefed on the progress of the operations by the heads of our relevant security agencies. However, as the operations are ongoing, it is inappropriate to provide further detail at this stage.”
“The public should be reassured that our security and intelligence agencies are working tirelessly to
keep us safe,” he said.
Late on Saturday, armed police stormed homes in at least four neighborhoods, including in the inner city.
The Seven Network reported 40 riot squad officers moved on one inner city home before an explosives team found a suspicious device, although police would not confirm this.
TV footage showed a man with a bandage on his head and draped in a blanket being led away by authorities.
“The New South Wales Joint Counter Terrorism Team has conducted multiple searches across Sydney today, resulting in the arrest of four men,” police said in a statement.
“The four men have been taken into custody and are assisting police with their inquiries,” the Australian Federal Police said in a statement.
“These searches and the broader investigation remain ongoing, and further information will be made available at the appropriate time.”
National broadcaster ABC quoted a woman as saying her son and husband were arrested in the raids, but denied they had links to terrorism.
“I love Australia,” she said as she was led away to a car.
Turnbull urged people to “remain alert”.
Australian officials have grown increasingly concerned about the threat of extremist attacks and have prevented 12 on home soil since September 2014, with more than 60 people charged.
But five have taken place, mostly with guns, including a fatal shootout in Melbourne in June claimed by the ISIS terrorist group.
In that incident, a man was killed in a gun battle with police when he opened fire following an hour-long standoff after taking a woman hostage.
It is alleged 29-year-old Yacqub Khayre, linked to a 2009 terror plot targeting an Australian army barracks, had first murdered a Chinese-born Australian man.