British teen, 14, held in connection with alleged ANZAC Day plot

A 14-year-old British child from the north-west of England has been arrested in connection with a foiled terrorist plot in Australia.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND, UK (APRIL 20, 2015) (ITN) – A 14-year-old British boy has been arrested in connection with an alleged Islamic State-linked plot to attack a World War One commemorative event in Australia this week, police said on Monday.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said five teenagers had been detained in Melbourne on Saturday, over the alleged plan to attack an event to mark the centenary of the landings at Gallipoli.

The British teenager was also arrested on Saturday in relation to what Greater Manchester Police described as the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism after communication between him and a man in Australia was discovered, .

The boy was already in police custody after having been arrested on April 2 at an address in Blackburn, northern England, on suspicion of preparing for an act of terrorism.

”As a result of that enquiry, we have made some arrests and we launched an investigation with my team. As a result of the information that we retrieved and some communication data that we received from that enquiry we uncovered what we believe to be a potential, credible terrorist threat. We immediately informed the Australian authorities, so it was a terrorist threat that related to Australia. We’ve been co-ordinating and working very closely with them over the last few days. It’s widely reported what they have done and made the arrests. We’ve coordinated our activity and this young person that’s been arrested in the north west has been arrested in relation to that plot,” said Detective Chief Superintendent Tony Mole, from the North West Counter Terrorism Unit.

Mole confirmed that a team of police has been sent to Australia to assist with the investigation.

“I’ve got a team out there. We are in full communication with them. It is a joint enquiry, we’re assisting the Australians. It is centred around the Australian plot and I think it is a good example of international co-operation. The counter-terrorism network is able to work across borders,” he said.

He added that there was no immediate threat to the public in Britain.

”This investigation is centred around the Australian plot, so there is no immediate threat to people in the north west of the UK. We take these matters very seriously. I say this a lot: early intervention is always best. So the quicker that we can engage with people that may be going down this line the better. We never want to end up in criminal prosecutions. However, our primary objective is to protect the public, both nationally and internationally.”

More than 200 police officers took part in the Australian raids on Saturday, the culmination of a month-long sting operation which led to the detention of five men aged 18 and 19.

Abbott said the authorities believed the group was involved in planning an attack against police on ANZAC Day, a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand.

Australia has sent hundreds of soldiers to Iraq to help train forces fighting Islamic State, heightening concerns about reprisal attacks and believes at least 70 of its citizens are fighting with the militant group which has seized swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq.

Likewise, British security services estimate some 600 Britons have joined the conflict in the region, including Mohammed Emwazi, dubbed “Jihadi John” by media and whom investigators believed to have appeared in several Islamic State beheading videos.

Britain is also staging events to mark the Gallipoli campaign including a service of commemoration in central London on April 25, ANZAC Day, which Queen Elizabeth and her grandson Prince William are due to attend.

London police said forces around the country had been asked to review security plans around ANZAC Day events although there was no specific threat to ceremonies in Britain.