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Australian police use new anti-terror amendment to foil "large-scale" attack

[JURIST] Australian police arrested 15 terror suspects early Tuesday local time in what Victoria state police chief Christine Nixon characterized as "the largest operation of counterterrorism that's ever been conducted in this country." Some 400 officers were involved. The 15 suspects, including Abu Bakr, a prominent radical Islamic cleric from Melbourne who has praised Osama bin Laden, were said to have been plotting a "large scale terrorist attack" on the Australian mainland and will appear in court later today. A lawyer representing eight of the arrestees said that most of his clients were charged with being members of banned organizations. Last week, following a government warning of an imminent terror attack [JURIST report], the Australian Parliament passed an amendment [JURIST report] to existing anti-terrorism laws that expanded state power to allow authorities to prosecute suspects without associating them with a specific terrorist act; Nixon said the amendment was necessary to accomplish the arrests of several of the suspects. AP has more. From Australia, AAP has local coverage; ABC Australia has additional coverage.

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