Man accused of planning mass shooting in Melbourne on New Year's Eve

Man accused of planning mass shooting in Melbourne on New Year's Eve

Australian police have arrested a man accused of planning a mass shooting for New Year's Eve in a crowded Melbourne square, officials said.

Ali Ali, a 20-year-old Australian-born citizen with Somali parents, is accused of trying to obtain an automatic rifle to attack the downtown Federation Square in Australia's second-largest city, Victoria State Police Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton said.

Thousands of revellers pack the square each year on New Year's Eve.

Ali is alleged to have downloaded instructions from an al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula website on how to launch a terrorist attack and how to use guns, Patton said.

Justice Minister Michael Keenan said police arrested four extremists last December over a similar alleged plot to attack Federal Square and other public places in Melbourne over the Christmas-New Year period. The four will stand trial next year on terrorism charges.

Man accused of planning mass shooting in Melbourne on New Year's Eve

Keenan urged the public to continue with their usual routines over the period and expect to see a heavy police presence.

"Australians should be able to go about their business secure in the understanding that the government has worked very closely with law enforcement and other security agencies to keep them safe," Keenan told reporters.

Australia has strict gun laws and automatic weapons are banned from private ownership.

The man is the 74th suspect arrested in Australia in 31 counter-terrorism investigations since the country's terrorism threat level was elevated to "probable" in September 2014.

Ali appeared in a Melbourne court on Tuesday on charges of preparing to commit a terrorist attack and collecting documents to facilitate a terrorist act.

People convicted of those crimes in Australia face a maximum penalty of life in prison. Ali was not required to plead to the charges and did not apply to be released on bail.

Search warrants were issued on Monday at a home in a suburb where the suspect lived with his parents and siblings, at a relative's address in another suburb and at a computer business where he once had a part-time job.

AP


More in this Section

Minneapolis overwhelmed again by protests over George Floyd deathMinneapolis overwhelmed again by protests over George Floyd death

US National Guard summoned to aid cities amid custody death protestsUS National Guard summoned to aid cities amid custody death protests

EU urges Trump to rethink American funding cut for WHOEU urges Trump to rethink American funding cut for WHO

British government advisers warn lockdown lifting too early as crowds flock to beachesBritish government advisers warn lockdown lifting too early as crowds flock to beaches


Lifestyle

A Spectacular 28.86-carat ring, the largest D-colour diamond ever offered online, will come up at Christie's Jewels in New York from June 16-30.High value diamond adds serious sparkle to online sale

A whiff of new normality is in the air, writes Des O'SullivanAntiques: How to put a post-lockdown world in the frame

Buy everything on Michelle Darmody’s list and create five meals.One List, Five Meals: Irish stew with a twist; Yellow Pepper Omelette

‘There are two of us, in it together’From Chestnut to Sage - how family food businesses, real labours of love, are coping with Covid

More From The Irish Examiner