Bomb blasts rock SydneyThat was the simulation scenario - before the London bombings.
Reports are starting to come in of two powerful explosions in central Sydney.
Fifty minutes ago, as the commuter rush hour was getting underway, a commuter train in the central city which had just commenced its run was derailed after one of its carriages exploded.
Emergency services were quickly at the scene, and an operation is now underway to rescue trapped survivors.
Sources have spoken about several bodies being taken away, but details are not being released until next of kin are located and informed.
Some of the bodies are said to be unrecogniseable.
Meanwhile, only twenty minutes ago, another explosion occured at the Macquarie Center, a popular shopping centre in the city's North Shore.
No details about that incident are available, but we will bring you the latest information as soon as it becomes available.
A third explosion has just occured in Sydney.
A school bus which just a few hours ago had been full of children on their way home from a a rural high school just outside the city was badly damaged in a blast.
It was parked at the bus company's premises in Sydney's far west.
There are no reports of anyone being hurt.
Meanwhile, police investigating the two earlier explosions in the city have released security camera footage of what they describe as "a person of interest" to their inquiry, who is seen placing an object in a rubbish bin outside a Starbuck's coffee shop in the Macquarie Shopping Center earlier today.
The footage is unclear, although the person is a male, of medium height, with a beard. He is wearing tacksuit pants and a jacket with a hood pulled over his head.
The explosion at the shopping center badly damaged the coffee shop, and four customers have been rushed to hospital.
One is described as being in a serious condition, while the others have relatively minor cuts and burns.
Emergency services are still at the cordoned off scene of the train derailment on the North Shore which is believed to have been caused by an explosion in one of the carriages.
Police have confirmed that at least three people are dead, and a dozen seriously injured.
They say they are still reviewing security camera footage from several railway stations on the train's route.
Any member of the public with information about today's events are asked to contact the New South Wales Police.
More reports as they come to hand.
From Today's News :
Queensland Nationals senator Barnaby Joyce said today's raids justified last week's Senate recall to change the wording of a particular piece of anti-terror legislation.Now another quote from the Simulation :
"I think there's a clear connection between the laws that have been passed by the senate and its effect," Senator Joyce told reporters.
"These people were, obviously, from what we've heard in the news, well advanced in a plan to attack one of the train stations in Melbourne or Sydney.
"If they had been successful in that, everybody would have been asking the question 'why didn't we stop them?'. Well, they have been stopped."
Senator Joyce said he had not been concerned that the terrorists were tipped off by last week's government action.
"I'm sure that the police are competent enough to keep an eye on them and they wouldn't have let them out of their sight," he said.
MSG 1Now back to Reality :
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Terror suspect
Date: Mon, 11 Apr 2005 21:08:23 +1000
From: Bruce Hill
Mr Prime Minister,
The NSW Police Commissioner reports they've received a tip from a member of the public.
She recognises the man in identikit picture as her neighbour in a terrace in Paddington.
He's a Muslim, keeps to himself.
Our record indicate the property is rented by Omar Masri, an Iraqi immigrant who has lived in Australia for seven years.
He is an Australian citizen, employed by the local council as a maintainence worker, no convictions.
Preliminary inquiries indicate he's devout and attends an inner city mosque regularly.
The neighbour says he's home right now, she can see his lights are on, and he's watching television.
Do we move in and make an arrest?
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: Terror suspect (EXERCISE SIMTERROR05)
Date: Mon, 11 Apr 2005 22:27:06 +1000
From: Alan and Carmel Brain
To: Bruce Hill
> Do we move in and make an arrest?
This is now under (really High classification - compartmentalised - but I don't want to trigger an echelon alert)
No, surveillance only.
URGENT!!!! Tap his wires (authorisation under ASIO act - section 11, exigencies), especially digital comms.
Get an arrest and search warrant under anti-terrorism legislation. And a search warrant for the Mosque, but do not execute it yet. Put it under surveillance, with photos of everyone entering or leaving.
Get a Muslim member of ASIO to go inside, with a chemical sniffer.
Remember to check the sewers, and catch all contents from the suspect's house.
Do a drive-by with radiation detectors. No sign of this yet, but we can't be too paranoid.
Find out where he's been working in the last few months, a council worker could have access to water supplies etc.
We want to catch the network, not just one member. They'll have a cell structure. We need to get the other cells.
Also, he may be innocent. We're going to make a lot of Muslims unhappy before this is over, let's not do so unless we have to.
I'm delegating authority to people on the ground from here. Act as you see fit, within the policy above, as things may have to be done quickly.
You'll have my full support. Get an SAS snatch squad ready, just in case.
Also : talk to neighbour, I'll need the phone number to give her my personal thanks. Ask if she wants a guard with her, and can we use her home as an observation Post? It's the little things that matter.
Please preppend SIMTERROR05 to subject line from now so the real guys don't get too antsy.
The first details of the charges against the 16 terror suspects were outlined in a Melbourne court today.And more :
Victorian police had more than 240 hours of phone intercepts in which the group discussed plans to kill Australian civilians, the court heard.
A Danish exchange student living in Renown Avenue, Ulrich Soerensen, 17, said he noticed police as he left home for school this morning.
He also noticed police had been watching the home for some time.
"In the last few months police cars have been driving up and down the road, stopping at the end of the road," Mr Soerensen said.
He had also seen a policeman with binoculars looking into the house.
"There's a lot going on over there, a lot of different people," Mr Soerensen said
Tim Blair is all over this story, as it develops.
But I think the developers of the SimTerror05 exercise over at Silent Running deserve some kudos for getting it right. And I have to say that I think I played my own role as Australian PM reasonably adequately, even though I do say so myself. Tim Blair was supposed to play that role, but alas, had other commitments at the time. No doubt he would have done better. But better still appears to be a certain John Howard.