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Cleric Charged In Alleged Australian Terror Plot

8 November 2005 -- Police in Australia say they have foiled a large-scale terrorist attack.

A radical Islamic cleric has been charged with leading a terrorist group, after raids in which a militant suspect was shot and injured and 15 others were arrested.

The raids in Melbourne and Sydney involved more than 450 heavily armed officers backed by helicopters.

Among those arrested in Melbourne was Algerian-born cleric Abu Bakr. Prosecutors say he was the leader of both the Sydney and Melbourne groups.

Bakr was charged with directing the activities of a terrorist organization. The other Melbourne suspects were charged with membership of a terrorist organization.

The Sydney suspects were charged with preparing to manufacture explosives.

Police have not said what the target of the planned attack was.

(compiled from agency reports)

Copyright (c) 2005. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org

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