Australian police arrest 18-year-old, likely to face 'terror' charges

An 18 year-old man from Albury is arrested following a NSW Joint Counter Terrorism Team investigation on Dec 9, 2020.
An 18 year-old man from Albury is arrested following a NSW Joint Counter Terrorism Team investigation on Dec 9, 2020.PHOTO: REUTERS/AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE

SYDNEY (REUTERS) - Australian police arrested on Wednesday (Dec 9) an 18-year-old man who had allegedly expressed interest in committing a mass casualty attack, motivated by right-wing ideology.

Police said they expect to lay charges on Wednesday against the unidentified man from Albury, a small town 553km south-west of Sydney.

"The male we've arrested has an extremely right-wing ideology and is focused on neo-Nazi, white supremacist and anti-Semitic material," Australian Federal Police Assistant Commission Scott Lee told reporters in Sydney.

"A couple of days ago what we observed was an escalation in the tone which went to a support of a mass casualty event, and potentially his involvement in that event."

Australia, a staunch United States ally, has been on heightened alert against the threat of home-grown radicals after several "lone wolf" attacks in recent years.

A white supremacist gunman from Australia killed 51 Muslim worshippers in New Zealand last year.

Australian intelligence agencies have regularly warned of an increased threat by right-wing aligned individuals since then.