Police raid a home in Melbourne, Australia, Tuesday that led to the arrests of three men officials say were plotting a terrorist attack. Photo by David Crosling/EPA-EFE
Nov. 20 (UPI) -- Three men were arrested in Australia Tuesday, suspected of plotting an Islamic State-inspired terror attack, authorities said.
Brothers Ertunc Eriklioglu, 30, and Samed Eriklioglu, 26, and acquaintance Hanifi Halis, 21, were arrested in raids at different locations and charged in Melbourne Magistrates' Court Tuesday afternoon on one count of preparing a terrorist act, Australia's 9 News reported.
Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton told reporters the men had been under investigation since March.
"We didn't have a precise time and a precise location (of the plotted attack)," Ashton told reporters. "They were looking at a place of mass gathering. There was a view towards a crowded place, a place where maximum people would be attending, to be able, to kill, we allege, as a maximum amount of people as possible."
Prosecutor Aman Dhillon told the court police seized 11 electronic devices -- including four phones, three tablets and three storage drives, The Australian reported.
Authorities said the men attempted to purchase a semiautomatic .22 rifle for the plot.
Asst. Commissioner Ross Guenther said they'd been persons of interest since early 2017 and appeared to have radicalized themselves.
"Unfortunately the [Islamic State] propaganda machine and that of Al Qaida promotes this side of activity," Guenther said.
Armagan Eriklioglu, the father of the Eriklioglu brothers, said he did not believe the charges.
"They are very polite, they're not wild, they're not aggressive," he told 9 News. "They listen to the scholars like me, scholars and all that... but no, not Islamic State."