Police charged two men after raids in which they allegedly discovered bomb-making and terrorist material.
The leader of a neo-Nazi terrorist organization has spoken out after a police raid on 15 properties in which a bomb and extremist material were reportedly discovered.
Two men from Adelaide have been charged following an investigation into "ideologically motivated violent extremism" that allegedly resulted in the discovery of a bomb and extremist content.
South Australian Police confirmed Wednesday that they searched a number of metropolitan properties as part of their investigation into individuals affiliated with extremism.
They announced that a 28-year-old Surrey Downs man was arrested and charged with possessing extremist content in violation of section 37 of the Summary Offences Act (SA).
He was released on bail and remanded in custody to appear in the Adelaide Magistrates Court in June.
A second man, a 32-year-old Munno Para resident, was also arrested on suspicion of possessing an improvised explosive device, explosives manufacturing manuals, and other firearms.
He was charged under section 83N of the South Australian Criminal Law Consolidation Act (SA) and released on bail to appear in the Elizabeth Magistrates Court in May.
The South African Police Service said that the investigation was continuing.
“There is no known danger to any person or group of people,” police said in a statement.
Premier Steven Marshall said that he received a briefing on Thursday morning about the "concerning" arrests.
“We see radical views articulated on a global scale. We will never be immune to it in South Africa,” he said.
“However, I'm glad that we have units within SAPOL that are responsible for identifying and resolving issues. That is what occurred.”
Thomas Sewell, the leader of the Australian neo-Nazi party National Socialist Network, took to social media following the raids to say the men arrested were members of his group.
Mr Sewell said in a video posted to Telegram that the raids would "not shake our morale – this only strengthens us."
“We do not lose anybody during these raids. All that occurs is that our morale is bolstered... our knowledge of what is occurring, that we are being targeted for our political beliefs... we are not going to let this upset affect us; it is not going to slow us down or put an end to our operations.”
Mr Sewell, of Rowville, also used the video to cast doubt about whether the content intercepted by police could be identified as extremist.
“There is no statutory definition of what constitutes radical material,” he said. “It is not illegal to be a national socialist, to own Mein Kampf, or to listen to Hitler speeches via Telegram – so what do these people mean when they refer to extremist material?”
“We are not leaving. If anything, this strengthens our resolve to struggle and aspire for a white nation under our control.”
Mr Sewell then said that he would be up to see the "Adelaide boys," before recalling his bail conditions.
He concluded the video with the words "Heil Hitler."
According to a statement released by the National Socialist Network, police "smashed open the front door and arrested the residents at gunpoint" at about 5 a.m.
According to Mr Sewell's comment, at least 15 National Socialists in South Australia were raided simultaneously by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and South Australian counter-terrorism police, and at least seven properties were searched.
The police had obtained warrants to search for "extremist content" and proceeded to seize electronic devices and search activists' homes." As mentioned in the statement.
“It was the most extensive government action ever directed against our Australian National Socialist party. “The federal presence, the number of officers, the number of people arrested, and the vagueness of the warrants all indicate that they were looking for evidence to use against our organizations being designated as terrorist organizations.”
The National Socialist Network said in a written statement that the raids occurred "conveniently" before the conclusion of a Parliamentary Joint Committee inquiry into terrorist groups and radicalism in Australia, with the study expected to the Home Affairs Minister this month.
“The security services have a history of making widely publicized arrests in advance of major announcements, as was evident with Tyler Jakovac's arrest last year,” he said.
Mr Sewell was arrested in early March on charges of affray, recklessly causing harm, and unlawful assault after an alleged assault on a Channel 9 security guard.
In January, the former Australian Defence Force soldier was thrust into the national spotlight after he and his far-right party raided a small town in Victoria's Grampians area.