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Australian state police sectors raise terrorist threat levels

STATE police sectors throughout Australia raised their terror warnings from medium to high on Tuesday following recent terror-related incidents in Sydney, Canada and France.

Police in New South Wales, Western Australia and Queensland have all upgraded their terror warnings, joining Australia's national alert level on high.

The national alert level was increased in September last year, signifying that a terrorist attack is likely, but not imminent.

The upgrading followed the Sydney siege incident last month, in which a lone gunman held 18 people hostages in a cafe for over 16 hours, ultimately killing two people before he was shot dead by police.

However, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) suggested it wasn' t just local incidents that resulted in the raised terror level, citing attacks on Canadian Parliament in October and the Charlie Hedbo magazine offices in France earlier in the month.

"As a result of intelligence information and discussions with our partners, the terrorism threat level against police is assessed as high, which is commensurate with the broader threat level for the community," the AFP said via a statement released on Tuesday.

"The factors that led to the elevated terrorism threat level for Australia to high in September 2014 persist and the security environment remains increasingly complex and challenging. Recent events in France, Canada and Australia serve as a sobering reminder of the risks associated with policing."

There are currently believed to be more than 70 Australians fighting for Islamic State groups in Syria and Iraq.

According to police commissioners in New South Wales, Western Australia and Queensland, those people have the ability to conduct acts of terrorism against local officers, leading to the increased warning levels.

"While relatively small, there are increasing numbers of Australians who are connected with or inspired by overseas terrorist groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, with the intent and capability to conduct an attack against police, " the AFP statement continued.

"Following the raising of the general terrorism threat level in September 2014, all police jurisdictions thoroughly reviewed their security and risk management strategies and made necessary adjustments to their protective security polices and practices. These continue to be under active review."


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