SYDNEY, Australia - Police in Australia arrested 16 terror suspects, including a radical Muslim cleric accused of leading a cell dedicated to "violent jihad," in a string of raids in the early hours of Tuesday and said they had foiled a catastrophic terror attack.
One suspect who had been under surveillance was shot and wounded by police.
The man was shot after first opening fire on police sent to arrest him, said police Commissioner Graeme Morgan. One police officer was hit, receiving a minor graze to the hand.
A bomb squad robot examined a backpack the suspect was wearing when he was shot and found a hand gun, Morgan said. He added that the suspect was undergoing surgery for a neck wound, but did not have details of his condition.
"I'm satisfied that we have disrupted what I would regard as the final stages of a large-scale terrorist attack ... here in Australia," New South Wales Police Commissioner Ken Moroney told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio.
A lawyer for eight of the men said they included Abu Bakr, a leading Algerian-Australian cleric who has said that while the killing of innocents is wrong, he would be violating his faith if he warned his students against joining the jihad, or holy war, in Iraq.
Nine men appeared Tuesday morning in Melbourne Magistrates Court charged with being members of a terror group.
Prosecutor Richard Maidment told the court the nine formed a terrorist group to kill "innocent men and women in Australia."
"The members of the Sydney group have been gathering chemicals of a kind that were used in the London Underground bombings," Maidment said, adding that Bakr was the group's ringleader.
"Each of the members of the group are committed to the cause of violent jihad," he added.