Five teens charged after counter-terror squad conduct mass raids as part of Wakeley stabbing probe

Georgina Noack
The Nightly
2 Min Read
Police have charged five minors after the NSW counter-terror squad carried out mass raids.
Police have charged five minors after the NSW counter-terror squad carried out mass raids. Credit: NSW POLICE/PR IMAGE

Police have charged five minors after the NSW counter-terrorism squad carried out mass raids after uncovering a potential teen terror cell as part of its investigation into a stabbing attack at a Wakeley church.

More than 400 police from the Joint Counter Terrorism Team (JCTT) executed 13 search warrants across a number of western Sydney suburbs as well as premises in Goulbourn on Wednesday morning.

Seven juvenile males were arrested, five more people — two men and three younger males — assisted police with inquiries.

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Officers also seized a number of items, including “a significant amount of electronic material”, during the raids.

In an update on Thursday, NSW Police confirmed they had charged five boys aged between 14 and 17-years-old in connection with their investigations.

A 14 and 17-year-old boy were charged with possessing or controlling violent extremist material obtained or accessed using a carriage service.

Two 16-year-old males were charged with conspiring to engage in any act in preparation for, or planning, a terrorist act.

And a fifth male, aged 17, was charged with conspiring to engage in an act in preparation for, or planning, a terrorist act and custody of a knife in a public place.

All five were refused bail to appear before a Children’s Court on Thursday.

“Operational activity remains ongoing, with the other juveniles and men are assisting police with inquiries,” a NSW Police spokesperson said.

“There is no specific threat to public safety and no threat to Anzac Day commemorations.”

On Wednesday, NSW Police Deputy Commissioner David Hudson said 10 teenagers and two men had been under surveillance since the live-streamed attack at the Christ the Good Shepherd Church and authorities had moved quickly after deciding they were an unacceptable risk to public safety.

“Their behaviour whilst under that surveillance led us to believe that if they were to commit any act we would not be able to prevent that and we believed through the investigation that it was likely that an attack might ensue,” he said.

Australian Federal Police deputy commissioner Krissy Barrett said the investigation was ongoing and authorities had yet to identify evidence of specific times, locations or targets of a potential terror attack.

Ms Barrett said the raids would be “confusing and confronting” for some people and communities and the AFP was liaising with faith communities.

“We ask Australians to remain vigilant and I urge people who see or hear something that they feel is not right to contact the National Security hotline,” she said.

Ms Barrett stressed there was no ongoing threat to public safety and was not connected to Anzac Day celebrations or any religious holidays. She urged the public to read credible news about the alleged stabbing of Bishop Emmanuel and Wakeley riots and ignore misinformation circulating online.

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