ISIS flag
ISIS flagReuters

Police in Australia have arrested seven suspects who were allegedly planning a series of bomb attacks in the heart of Melbourne on Christmas Day, an official said late on Thursday (Friday morning local time), according to The Associated Press.

The seven men had been inspired by the Islamic State (ISIS) jihadist group, and had reportedly planned attacks on Melbourne’s Flinders Street train station, neighboring Federation Square and St. Paul’s Cathedral, Victoria state Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton said.

Police had been watching the alleged plotters for some time, and believed they were preparing to use explosives and other weapons, Ashton said, according to AP.

He added that police believed the threat had been neutralized through the raids, which took place Thursday night and Friday morning local time.

Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews said there will be extra police on the streets of Melbourne on Christmas Day to make the public feel safe.

Ashton said police had gathered unspecified evidence in the raids that the plotters were planning to use explosives in their attack.

Australia has long been concerned about home-grown extremism and raised the terror threat alert level to high in September of 2014.

That same month, Australia arrested15 terror suspects of an ISIS cell that was planning to behead a random member of the public in a campaign of terror.

About 400 police officers were involved in the latest raids.

Ashton described those arrested as “self-radicalized” and inspired by ISIS propaganda.