A teenage boy has been arrested on suspicion of plotting a terror attack during the country’s war commemorations, Australian police said.
The 16-year-old, who has not been named by authorities, was arrested on April 25 near his home in the Sydney suburb of Auburn and charged with planning one act of terrorism. The offense carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
Speaking outside Sydney's Children's Court on Monday, the teen's lawyer, Zemarai Khatiz, said his client would fight the charge and apply for bail on Tuesday, ABC News reported.
New South Wales Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said he believed the intended target was the Anzac commemoration services.
“The age of the individual is obviously a concern for us, and it remains a measure of the ongoing task facing law enforcement and the community," he said. Scipione said the teen was known to officers, but they believe he was acting alone.
In a written statement, Justice Minister Michael Keenan said the alleged plot was a "chilling and disturbing scenario".
Commander Chris Sheehan, Australian Federal Police state manager Sydney office, said it was important for friends and family to work together to disrupt terrorism.
“In Australia and around the world, the age of people radicalized is getting younger, with online grooming tactics similar to those used by sexual predators,” he said.
Australian authorities have increased security around the Anzac commemorations. The services remember the contribution of the Australian and New Zealand armed forces in all wars.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull paid tribute to the armed forces in a ceremony in Sydney on Sunday.