SYDNEY, 23rd December, 2016 (WAM)– Australian Police have disrupted a terrorist plot to detonate improvised explosive devices at locations in central Melbourne, possibly on Christmas Day, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was quoted by Australia’s broadcaster ABC as saying today.

The alleged terrorists planned to “explode improvised explosive devices” in the city’s business district, Turnbull said at a press conference.

He called it “one of the most substantial terrorist plots that have been disrupted over the last several years.”

“Overnight, the Victoria Police, working with the Australian Federal Police and ASIO, have arrested seven persons, five of whom are still in custody, searched five premises and are continuing to search them,” Turnbull said.

Seven people were arrested overnight at properties in Flemington, Meadow Heights and Dallas in Melbourne over the alleged plot, which police said was inspired by Daesh (ISIL) group.

The premier of Victoria State, Daniel Andrews, described the plot as an “act of evil”, while Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton said police had seized “the makings of an improvised explosive device.”