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Lengthy delays at Australian airports after 'Islamic-inspired terrorism' plots

01 August 2017

Security has been increased at Australian airports after police foiled "Islamic-inspired" plans for a bomb attack on an aircraft during counter-terrorism raids in which four men were arrested on Saturday, the Australian Federal Police confirmed.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has been assessing the new arrangements with police, domestic intelligence agency ASIO and the Office of Transport Security.

The beefed-up security has also caused crowds to congregate in baggage claim areas, as additional screening of checked-in luggage came into effect.

Passengers taking a domestic flight this week in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane or Adelaide have been advised to check in two hours before to allow enough time to get through the heightened security measures. Turnbull said some of these measures will be obvious to the public while others may not be.

None of the four suspects arrested in five raids had been charged, Colvin said.

The men, reportedly two fathers and their sons, were arrested in raids in Sydney on Saturday night.

Despite a few delays during peak period on Monday morning, Sydney Airport has generally been operating smoothly despite the new measures.

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It added that it was not yet known whether the flight number was related to the alleged terror plot.

Colvin on Sunday declined to discuss potential charges that the four men in custody might face.

"There is still the ability for people to have sophisticated plots and sophisticated attacks remain a real threat", he said.

He said additional security measures were implemented at Sydney Airport earlier in the week, and that more airfields had increased security overnight.

Australian Federal Police Commissioner Andrew Colvin said details were scant on the specifics of the attack, the location and timing.

Colvin said the plotters had been intending to use an "improvised device" to bring down a plane, although he wouldn't elaborate on what type of device it was. He said the public needed to go about their business and give themselves more time at the airport.

A source at a major Australian carrier said airlines and airports had been instructed by the government to ramp up baggage checks as a result of the threat, with some luggage searches now being conducted as passengers queued to check in their bags.