Melbourne, Aug. 4 (Reuters): Australian police arrested four men they said were linked to a Somali militant group today, accusing them of planning a suicide attack on an army base and raising fears the al Qaida-linked rebels were seeking targets outside Africa.
The four were seized in dawn raids on 19 properties across Melbourne following a seven-month investigation involving several forces and Australias national security agency ASIO.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said the arrests showed the threat of terrorism is alive and well. But officials said Australias terrorism warning alert would remain at medium level, where it has been since 2003.
It is the latest high-profile terrorism case that the countrys police and intelligence agencies have uncovered.
Australias biggest terrorism trial ended in February when Muslim cleric Abdul Nacer Benbrika was jailed for 15 years for leading a cell that planned to bomb a 2005 football match in Melbourne.
Altogether, 12 people were jailed over the plot.