Two young men charged over a Christmas Day terror plot were also behind arson attacks at a Melbourne mosque last year, police said on Sunday morning.
The two men already in custody for the Christmas Day plot will be charged over the fire along with Hatim Moukhaiber, a 29-year-old Meadow Heights man arrested when his car was stopped in Roxburgh Park on Saturday night.
The three men will be charged with engaging in a terrorist act, police said.
"The Islamic State" was sprayed on the side of the building but it was not known whether the graffiti was there before the fire was lit.
“It is clear that these arson attacks were designed to intimidate and influence those that attend this mosque and the wider Islamic community. These actions have no place in our society,” Assistant Commissioner Ian McCartney said in the statement.
“Victoria Police is proud to serve a diverse multi-faith and multicultural community, and will not tolerate this kind of behaviour in our community," Victoria Police Counter Terrorism Command Assistant Commissioner Ross Guenther said.
The men will be charged today, and face a maximum penalty of life imprisonment for these offences, police said.
Ahmed Mohamed, 25 and Abdullah Chaarani, 27, were arrested in December over an alleged suicide bomb plot targeted at Melbourne landmarks Flinders Street Station, Federation Square and St Paul’s Cathedral.
They are in custody awaiting trial on those charges - preparing or planning a terrorist act.
Gina Rushton is a breaking news reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney.
Contact Gina Rushton at email@example.com.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.