SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australian police on Thursday charged two 16-year boys with planning an imminent, Islamic State-inspired terror attack.
The two teenagers, who were arrested in a western suburb of Sydney on Wednesday, were found to be carrying two knives, though police said the exact target of their alleged plot is unknown.
“We did prevent what we would suspect was going to be an attack,” said Catherine Burn, deputy commissioner, New South Wales Police.
Australian police said they were aware of the two teenagers before their arrest. Local media reported one of the boys is the son of a man convicted of terror offences.
A staunch U.S. ally, Australia has been on heightened alert for attacks by home-grown radicals since 2014, having suffered several “lone wolf” assaults, including a cafe siege in Sydney in which two hostages and the gunman were killed.
The country has seen a spate of arrests and charges against radicalised youths and more than 100 people have left Australia for Syria to fight alongside Islamic State.
Australia has sought to tighten oversight of potential threats by lowering the age of people who can be subjected to telecommunications interceptions and searches to 14.
Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Michael Perry