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  1. ITV Report

Security stepped up after Australian police foil 'terrorist plot to bring down plane'

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Angus Walker

Security has been stepped up at all major airports in Australia after a bomb plot to bring down a passenger plan was uncovered.

Four men were arrested during raids at homes in Sydney's suburbs after the "Islamic-inspired" plan was foiled. Bomb-making materials were found at the properties.

The target was a plane bound to the Middle East from Sydney.

Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull said: "I can report that there has been a major joint counter-terrorism operation to disrupt a terrorist plot to bring down an airplane."

One of the suspects is led away by police. Credit: APTN

Australian Federal Police commissioner Andrew Colivn said details were scant on the specifics of the attack, the location and timing.

"In recent days, law enforcement has been become aware of information that suggested some people in Sydney were planning to commit a terrorist attack using an improvised devise," he said.

"We are investigating information indicating the aviation industry was potentially a target of that attack."

Mr Turnbull advised travellers in Australia to arrive at airports earlier than usual - two hours before departure - to allow for extra security screening, and minimise carry-on baggage.

Justice minister Michael Keenan said the plot was the 13th significant threat disrupted by police since Australia's terror threat level was elevated in 2014.

Five plots have been executed.

Raids were carried out at homes in Sydney's suburbs. Credit: APTN

"The primary threat to Australia still remains lone actors, but the events overnight remind us that there is still the ability for people to have sophisticated plots and sophisticated attacks still remain a real threat," Mr Keenan said.

"In light of this information, it's very important that everyone in Australia remains vigilant."

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

Seven Network television said 40 riot squad officers wearing gas masks stormed an inner-Sydney house before an explosives team found a suspicious device.

The plotters were reported to be making a peroxide-based explosive device rather than using nitrate-based chemicals that can be detected by airport security swab tests. Manchester Arena bomber Salman Abedi used such a peroxide-based explosive, triacetone triperoxide, during the attack on May 22.

Credit: APTN