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Gun, knife sellers may help counter terror

AAP logoAAP 26/10/2016 Roje Adaimy

Sellers of guns and military knives could be used to help prevent low-level terrorist attacks on Australian soil, experts say.

An Australian Strategic Policy Institute report recommends authorities engage with retailers to raise awareness about the use of small weapons in acts of terrorism, tell them what to look out for and how to report any concerns.

It follows the arrest of two teenagers outside a prayer hall in southwest Sydney earlier this month after they allegedly bought bayonet-style hunting knives from a nearby gun shop.

They are accused of planning a brutal Islamic State-inspired attack, with one boy allegedly carrying a note pledging allegiance to IS.

Ashley Collingburn and Jacinta Carroll, from ASPI's Counter-Terrorism Policy Centre, said the arrests provided reassurance that systems were working well.

"This plot demonstrates, however, that an individual with intent can source the necessary tools to conduct a terrorist attack, and shows once again that low-level attacks remain a real threat to Australia," said the report released on Wednesday.

"The timeframe involved demonstrates that intent can quickly translate into attack, and has tested Australia's response capabilities."

Agencies should conduct counter-terrorism exercises and scenarios outside cities, the report said.

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