Nov. 28 (UPI) -- A man was arrested by Australian police and charged with planning a terrorist attack in Melbourne for New Year's Eve, authorities said.
Officials said Ali Khalif Shire Ali, an Australian national with Somali parents, was arrested by Victoria State police Monday in the Melbourne suburb of Werribee.
Ali, 20, was charged Tuesday with gathering documents for and preparing to commit a terrorist attack.
Police said the charges relate to actions Ali took earlier this year when, Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton said, he attempted to obtain an automatic weapon to "shoot and kill as many people as he could."
Patton said the purported plan included firing into crowds during New Year's Eve festivities at Melbourne's Federation Square. He added that Ali never obtained a weapon.
The arrest was made after Ali, who police say consulted radical websites and possessed al-Qaida documents for committing terrorist attacks, began face-to-face meetings about getting a weapon.
"We were monitoring this person. He has been subject to our active investigation and at no stage did he access a firearm, albeit that was his intention," Patton said. "This is a person who would become particularly energized, for a lack of a better word, when overseas events occurred and would express a great deal of interest in committing an attack himself."
A social media page suggested Ali had conversations about Islam and was in contact with people in Britain who share his hardline views, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
At his appearance Tuesday in Melbourne Magistrates Court, Ali did not enter a plea or apply for bail. His next hearing is scheduled for March 13.
Police said they believe Ali acted alone.