TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Police have arrested a 20-year-old man suspected of planning to use an automatic rifle for a mass shooting on New Year’s Eve in downtown Melbourne, Australia’s second largest city.
Victoria state police said on Tuesday that the man was acting alone and had not been able to acquire a firearm before his arrest late on Monday, Reuters reported.
Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton said the man, an Australian citizen with Somalian parents, had been monitored by authorities since the beginning of the year.
“He’s accessed documents produced by al-Qaeda Arabian Peninsula which is a guide book in respect to how to commit a terrorist act and also how to use firearms, guns and handguns and rifles,” Patton said at a press conference in Melbourne.
The man had planned to shoot as many people as possible at Melbourne’s Federation Square, which swells with crowds on New Year’s Eve as the focus of the city’s celebrations, Patton said.
Australia, a staunch US ally that sent troops to Afghanistan and Iraq, has been on heightened alert since 2014 for attacks by homegrown militants returning from fighting in the Middle East or their supporters.
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Tasnim News Agency