Arrested British teenager has links to Melbourne's Anzac Day terror plot

Photo: Paul Miller/ Getty

English counter terrorism police have arrested a 14-year-old boy in Blackburn, Lancashire, in connection with anti-terrorism raids in Melbourne on the weekend.

Australian Federal Police confirmed a link between the arrest of the teenager and Saturday’s counter terrorism operation, which saw an 18-year-old man charged over an alleged Anzac Day plot in Melbourne.

Victorian police say investigators received information from UK authorities after they allegedly uncovered communications between the teenager and a man in Australia, and passed it on to local authorities here, but the details cannot be revealed because they form part of an ongoing investigation.

UK police say the North West Counter Terrorism Unit raided the Blackburn, after examining a number of electronic devices on April 2. The boy was arrested “on suspicion of preparing for an act of terrorism”.

He was arrested again on Saturday over the alleged “commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism” and remains in police custody for questioning.

Detective Chief Superintendent Tony Mole, from the North West Counter Terrorism Unit, said: “We have uncovered communication between an individual in the North West and a man in Australia to what we believe is a credible terrorist threat.

“We are continuing to work closely with the police in Australia and Lancashire.”

Two of the men five men detained in the Melbourne raids remain in custody.

Sevdet Besim, 18, of Hallam, is facing charges charged of conspiring to commit a terrorist act. Another man is the first person to be held under a Preventative Detention Order in Victoria, which allows authorities to detain someone for up to 14 days.

A third man is facing weapons charges, while the other two were released without charge.

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