Australian Mosque Raided Following Nearby Terror

Police in New South Wales raid a mosque reportedly visited by a 15-year-old boy before he shot dead a civilian policeman.

Ben Ariel, Canada,

Mosque (illustration)
Mosque (illustration)

An Australian mosque reportedly visited by a 15-year-old boy before he shot dead a civilian police employee in an "act of terrorism" has been raided, police said Sunday, according to the AFP news agency.

New South Wales state police said the mosque in the western Sydney suburb of Parramatta, close to the scene of the double shooting on Friday afternoon, was raided with the consent of religious leaders.

"NSW Police yesterday executed a warrant at a mosque in Parramatta," police said in a statement Sunday quoted by AFP. "The warrant was undertaken by arrangement with leadership at the mosque who provided full assistance to police at all times."

The 15-year-old gunman, who killed finance worker Curtis Cheng at close range outside the police force's headquarters before he was shot dead by officers, visited the mosque before the shooting, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

Investigators have yet to establish why the teenager - who has no criminal history - targeted 58-year-old Cheng, although Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Saturday the attack "appears to have been an act of terrorism".

Police did not provide further details about the mosque raid. The Sydney Morning Herald reported that investigators were searching for the boy's belongings but had left empty-handed.

Senior police sources told ABC the teenager's sister went missing Thursday and boarded a Singapore Airlines flight to Istanbul, adding that she could be bound for Iraq or Syria.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop would not comment on the report of the girl's travels, but said Australian federal and state governments were in talks with Muslim communities after the boy was identified as being of Iraqi Kurdish background and born in Iran.

"Yesterday, Prime Minister Turnbull and (NSW) Premier Mike Baird had a long conversation with not only... relevant agencies but also leaders in the Muslim community," she said, according to AFP.

"We're certainly reaching out to the leaders of the Muslim community but working with the families at a grassroots local level. It's the families that will be our frontline of defense against radicalized young people."

Australia is one among many countries which have dealt with the threat of radicalization.

The Australian government has been increasingly concerned about the flow of fighters to Iraq and Syria to join extremist groups such as ISIS, saying some 120 Australians are in the region with 160 supporting militants at home.

Canberra raised the terror threat level to high a year ago, and has conducted several counter-terrorism raids in various cities since then.

The government has also passed a number of national security laws and last month introduced legislation to strip dual nationals of their Australian citizenship for terrorism links.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Simchat Torah and Shmini Atzeret in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)