SYDNEY (Reuters) - Stricter screening of passengers and luggage at Australian airports will stay in place indefinitely after police foiled an alleged "Islamic-inspired" plot to bring down a plane, which local media said may have involved a bomb or poisonous gas.
The ramped up security procedures were put in place after four men were arrested at the weekend in raids conducted across several Sydney suburbs.
The men are being held without charge under special terror-related powers.
The Australian Federal Police would not confirm media reports the alleged plot may have involved a bomb disguised in a meat grinder or the planned release of poisonous gas inside a plane.
Australian Federal Police (AFP) Commissioner Andrew Colvin told reporters on Monday that the plot specifics were still being investigated.
"What you are seeing at the moment is making sure that there is extra vigilance, to make sure that we aren't cutting any corners in our security, to make sure that we are absolutely focused on our security," Colvin said.
Police on Monday were still searching several Sydney properties for evidence. Pictures showed forensic-specialist officers wearing masks and plastic jumpsuits inside the properties and combing through rubbish bins outside.
Immigration and Border Protection Minister Peter Dutton told reporters in Melbourne on Monday that the alleged plot to down an aircraft could prompt longer-term airport security changes.
"The security measures at the airports will be in place for as long as we believe they need to be, so it may go on for some time yet," said Dutton.
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