‘Amateur jihadi hunters’ uncover terrorist plot at Queen Victoria Market

By @chelean on
FILE PHOTO: A man holds a laptop computer as cyber code is projected on him in this illustration picture taken on May 13, 2017.
FILE PHOTO: A man holds a laptop computer as cyber code is projected on him in this illustration picture taken on May 13, 2017. Reuters/Kacper Pempel/File Photo

A family of “amateur jihadi hunters” have reportedly uncovered a terrorist plot to blow up the Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne. The British family pretended to be willing recruits and sent their findings to the Australian Federal Police and Victoria Police.

According to The Herald Sun, a family member pretended to be willing recruit of an overseas terrorist network that sent encrypted texts and voice files with instructions on how to set off a bomb. The recruit was sent the instructions for over five months’ period.

The terrorist group’s plot allegedly involved making a car bomb and driving it to a crowded corner of the Queen Victoria Market. They then forwarded their correspondence to the AFP and the Victoria Police.

After assessing the situation, the police believed that there was no real threat. Assistant Commissioner Ross Guenther said that they were made aware of the communications early this year and concluded there was no specific threat.

“We take any reports of threats to infrastructure and people in Melbourne very seriously,” he told 3AW radio. “We’re more than satisfied I have to say and I want to be really clear about that. There was no clear plot against anywhere in the city of Melbourne.”

He said that the Queen Victoria Market was one of the several Melbourne landmarks mentioned in the forwarded communication between the alleged terrorist group and the family. The others included the court precinct and Federation Square. Nevertheless, they concluded that the plot “was not viable.”

Guenther further explained that such conversations between a person of interest in the Middle East and another person in the UK go on across jihadi networks on a “very, very regular basis.” The police, he said, were very good at monitoring such communications and they intervene when needed.

The terror risk posed remains constant and has not changed in the past years. Nevertheless, the police will boost their presence at the mentioned places this weekend to reassure the community.