SYDNEY - Australian police have raided a string of properties in Melbourne over alleged links to homegrown terrorism, reports said Wednesday.
Australian Federal Police and Victorian police would not confirm the raids, but said an operation was ongoing.
"It's an ongoing investigation," a spokeswoman for the Australian Federal Police told AFP, adding that it would be inappropriate to comment further.
The Age newspaper said the raids were linked to the Al-Furqan Islamic Centre in Springvale.
The paper said those targeted in the operation were believed to be involved in "contemplating and getting information" about terrorist activities rather than a full-blown terror plot.
A spokesman for the Al-Furqan centre, which has an Islamic bookstore and runs prayers, classes and youth activities, told Australian Associated Press that police arrived at 6:00am and remained at the centre until evening.
"They wouldn't allow anyone inside, they just cordoned it off," the man, who would not give his name, said.
"They took a few things and gave us a receipt.
"Everyone has been taken aback but you always have the feeling that these things can happen," he said.
Australia has disrupted at least four major homegrown terror plots since the 9/11 attacks on the United States, with 37 of the 38 people prosecuted as a result being Australian citizens.
Last year three men who were found guilty of plotting to attack a Sydney army barracks with high-powered weapons, and shoot as many people as possible to further their vision of Islam, were jailed for 18 years.