Australian police detained four men suspected of plotting an attack in the country.

In an operation that involved 400 officers from state and national security services, the authority launched 19 pre-dawn raids on properties in the southern city of Melbourne, Victoria state police said in a statement.

Those captured are believed to have 'been undertaking planning to carry out a terrorist attack in Australia'. says the police department spokesman.

The group was believed to be linked to al-Shabaab, an Islamic extremist group in Somalia, said Australian Federal Police Acting Commissioner Tony Negus.

'The men's intention was to actually go into the Army barracks and to kill as many soldiers as they could before they themselves were killed,' he said.

The Australian newspaper reported the detainees were Islamist extremists, ranging in age from 22 to 26, who had planned to launch a suicide attack on an Australian Army base, which was understood to be Holsworthy Barracks on Sydney's western outskirts.

The men - who were said to be Australian nationals of Somali or Lebanese descent - were allegedly planning to use automatic weapons to kill as many soldiers as possible before killing themselves, the newspaper reported.

Although Australia's Australia's terror warning alert would remain at medium level, where it has been since 2003, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said the arrests showed threats remained.

Lock them up, Rudd!

Source: Fox News