Prime Minister Tony Abbott today asked Australians to be alert during the holiday period after authorities detected “a heightened level of terrorist chatter” post the Sydney cafe siege, warning another attack is likely.
“The briefing from the security agencies today indicated that there has been a heightened level of terrorist chatter in the aftermath of the Martin Place siege, that’s why it’s important that people remain alert and aware, as well as reassured that our police and security agencies are doing everything they possibly can to keep us safe,” Abbott was quoted as saying by media reports.
“As you’ll all understand, at this level, an attack is likely, we don’t know when and how an attack may come, but we do know there are people with the intent and capability to carry out further attacks, and that’s why it’s important that as well as being reassured that people are aware of the reality of these times.
“Australians should go about their lives as normal because what terrorists are trying to do is scare us out of being ourselves,” he said.
Abbott made the statement after a meeting with Australian Federal Police and intelligence agency ASIO.
“The terror threat remains ‘high’ and, as I’m sure you all understand, at this level an attack is likely. We don’t know when and how an attack may come but we do know that there are people with the intent and capability to carry out further attacks.
“Our police forces and our security and intelligence organisations are doing everything thing they possibly can to monitor and disrupt all threats to our security, but I do want to say to all members of the public if you see something untoward please do report it to the national security hotline on 1800 123 400,” he said.
Christmas is above all a time of hope and one of the best ways we can respond to the security challenge is to celebrate the festive season as normal and to look forward with confidence to the New Year, Abbott added.
Last week, a lone heavily-armed man of Iranian-origin held 17 people hostage at a cafe in Sydney. The police operation ended after cops stormed it, resulting in three deaths and two Indians who were among the captives escaped safely.
The Australian government has not officially branded the Sydney cafe siege as a terrorist attack.