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Australia. Police arrested teenage supporters of “violent religious extremism”.

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Australian police on Wednesday arrested seven teenagers linked to a boy accused of a sectarian attack on a bishop in Sydney. All those detained are minors, the website of the British daily “Guardian” reported. The youngest of them are 15 years old.

Following the recent knife attack at a church in Sydney, Australian police on Wednesday detained seven teenagers adhering to a “religiously motivated ideology of violent extremism,” AFP reported.

The police carried out large-scale searches after an attack by a 16-year-old knifeman, who on April 13 injured four people during mass, including the bishop of the Assyrian Church of Christ the Good Shepherd, shouting in Arabic: “In the name of the Prophet.” The incident was considered terrorist, and the investigation also included people associated with the perpetrator.

Action by the Australian policeNSW POLICE FORCE/PAP/EPA

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Action by the Australian police

All those detained are minors, the website of the British daily “Guardian” reported. The youngest of them are 15 years old. David Hudson, deputy commissioner of the New South Wales state police, said all members of the group knew each other and “all share a common goal.” He announced the continuation of the action. “A number of people have been identified who we believe require further police attention,” he said.

400 officers of the state and federal police and anti-terrorist services participated in Wednesday's search operation. As a result of the investigation, a network of people adhering to a “similar ideology” was found, said Krissy Barrett, deputy commissioner of the Australian Federal Police, quoted by ABC.

The detainees were being followed, and police observations indicated that “an attack may have occurred”, although there was no direct threat to the local community.

The head of the Australian Intelligence Organization (ASIO), Mike Burgess, said that a few years ago, minors made up as many as half of suspects in investigations deemed “priority” or “counter-terrorism in nature”, but that the percentage had recently been falling.

“The number of minors involved in proceedings has increased again, among others due to content published on social media,” Burgess said.

Main photo source: NSW POLICE FORCE/PAP/EPA



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