Australian police arrested a man accused of planning a mbad shooting for New Year's Eve in a crowded Melbourne square, authorities said Tuesday.
The 20-year-old citizen born in Australia with Somali parents was trying to obtain an automatic rifle to attack the center of Federation Square in Australia's second largest city, said Deputy Commissioner of Victoria State Police Shane Patton .
Thousands of revelers fill the square every year on New Year's Eve.
The man, who was not named, downloaded Al Qaeda instructions on the Arabian Peninsula website on how to launch a terrorist attack and how to use weapons, Patton said.
Patton described the suspect as "a person who has expressed the intention to try to kill as many people as possible by shooting them."
He said that the authorities had eliminated the threat of the attack, saying that "the risk that this person represented had been eliminated".
The anti-terrorist police had been watched The man, a well-known extremist and sympathizer of the Islamic State group, this year stopped him while he was meeting people in an attempt to acquire a weapon, Patton said.
Australia has strict laws on arms and automatic weapons are prohibited from private property.
The man is the suspect 74 arrested in Australia in 31 anti-terrorist investigations since Australia's level of terrorist threat was raised to "probable" in September 2014.
Police expect him to appear late in Melbourne court on Tuesday or Wednesday on charges of preparing to commit a terrorist attack and collecting documents to facilitate a terrorist act.
People convicted of these crimes in Australia face a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
Search warrants were issued Monday in a house in a suburb where the suspect lived with his parents and siblings, in the address of a relative in another suburb and in a computer business where he once had a part-time job .