The Australian government raised the terror alert level from “medium” to “high” on Friday.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the terror level was raised for a number of reasons, including the growing number of Australians coming back from fighting for militant groups in Iraq and Syria.
“There are people with the intent and the capability to mount attacks here in Australia,” Abbott said in a press conference, according to the AFP.
This is the first time in Australia’s history that the terror alert has been raised to “high,” the BBC said. The second highest alert of four levels means that a “terrorist attack is likely.” The highest rank, “extreme,” means a “terrorist attack is imminent or has occurred,” according to the Australian government.
Abbott stressed that there is no specific plot to attack Australia, but the heightened threat level will lead to tightened security at airports, public events, and military bases, news.com.au said.
The announcement just a couple weeks after the U.K. raised& terror threat level to “severe” — the second highest of five alert levels — related to growing concerns over Jihadist groups in the Middle East. Intelligence showed that an attacked was not imminent, however.