A pack of marathoners pass in front of the Flinders Street Station during the women's Marathon at the Commonwealth Games in of Melbourne March 19, 2006 Reuters/Robert Cianflone

Melbourne Christmas day terror attack has been foiled by Victoria Police along with Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) through a major multi-agency operation. After weeks of investigation, the Australian Federal Police conducted five raids overnight across Melbourne’s northwest and arrested seven people.

Seven people have been arrested, five are still in custody

Seven people that include six women and one man were taken into police custody. While four of the suspects were Australia-born, one was Lebanese and one was an Egypt-born Australian. Two of them including a 20-year-old woman and a 26-year-old man (both belonging to Meadow Heights) were released without any charge.

The suspects, aged between 20 and 26, charged with acts in preparation of terrorist attack are expected to appear in court today.

Police suspect ISIS connect

Police alleged that the suspects were inspired by Islamic State to conduct Melbourne terrorist attack. Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton said that the suspects were “self-radicalised but certainly inspired by ISIS and ISIS propaganda.”

Target locations

The alleged terrorists planned to target high-profile locations of Melbourne that include Flinders St Station, Federation Square and St Paul's Cathedral.

All landmarks are located in the heart of the city and are near the Melbourne Cricket Ground, which is to be attended by 100, 000 people on Boxing Day because of a test match between Australia and Pakistan.

What was their plan?

Explosives were found during the raid. Furthermore, evidence pertaining to the plans of usage of other weapons that include knives or a firearm was also found.

Talking about the Melbourne Christmas Day terror attack plan, Federal Justice Minister Michael Keenan said the foiled plot was "amongst most serious in terms of its intent, and in terms of the capability of the people disrupted".

Justice Minister Michael Keenan said the operation marked a “successful disruption of what would have been a horrendous attack, an attack that may have caused very significant casualties.”

What Malcolm Turnbull has to say?

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said in a statement, “This is one of the most substantial terrorist plots [to] have been disrupted over the last several years. This news will be of great concern to all Australians.

“We congregate in public places for Christmas, for New Year’s Eve. It is a time of happiness and joy. These terrorists sought to disrupt it. They have been thwarted.”

Has safety been ensured now?

The public has been reassured by the authorities after foiling the Melbourne Christmas Day terror attack. According to Commissioner Ashton, the threat pertaining to Melbourne terrorist attack has been "neutralised." He said that the police presence has been increased in public areas, especially at the Melbourne Cricket Ground over the Christmas period.

Furthermore, Australian Federal Police Commissioner Andrew Colvin said the security will be beefed up on the streets of all states of the country. "The police presence will be noticeable, but it won't be intrusive," he said.