Western officials have warned that Somalia's al-Shabbab terror group is a growing danger. Now those warnings are hitting home.
Four Australian citizens, who authorities say have ties to that group, were arrested in a massive police operation in Melbourne early Tuesday morning.
The men, who range in age from 22 to 26 years old, are being charged with plotting to carry out suicide attacks against an Australian army base in Sydney. Members of the cell allegedly planned to enter the base and open fire with automatic weapons.
Click play for more insight on terrorism coming out of Somalia with CBN News Terrorism Analyst Erick Stakelbeck.
"Certainly what we'll allege in court today is that the men's intention was to actually go into the Army barracks and to kill as many soldiers as they could before they themselves were killed," acting Australian Federal Police Chief Tony Negus said.
Several other men are also being questioned in connection with the plot.
Authorities monitored the cell for seven months before making the arrests. Al-Shabab has close ties to al Qaeda and is currently seeking to establish Islamic Sharia law throughout Somalia.
Negus said, "Potentially this would have been, if it had been able to be carried out, the most serious terrorist attack on Australian soil."
Australia is not alone in dealing with a homegrown Somali terror threat. U.S. officials said several young Somali men from the Minneapolis area have traveled to Somali in recent months to wage jihad alongside al-Shabab.
*Originally published August 4, 2009