SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australian counter terrorism police on Saturday charged two teenage men with selling weapons and drugs, saying they were on the periphery of a large number of terror suspects being monitored.
The two 18-year-olds were arrested in a western suburb of Sydney on Friday and charged with 17 offences, including the unauthorised supply of firearms and firearm parts.
“Clear links between these suspects, the criminal element and the terrorist element are evident,” Dave Hudson, deputy commissioner of the New South Wales state police, told reporters in Sydney on Saturday.
“Police took the opportunity to try to control the supply of these firearms and remove them from the streets.”
A staunch U.S. ally, Australia has been on heightened alert for attacks by home-grown radicals and militants since 2014, having suffered several “lone wolf” assaults. The country has seen a spate of arrests and charges against radicalised youths.
The public has been assured there is no imminent security threat associated with the arrests.
Both men have been refused bail and were due to appear in court on Saturday.
Reporting by Harry Pearl, Editing by G Crosse