Intercepted intelligence indicating Islamic State militants could be planning to attack Australian lawmakers triggered a security alert at the country's Parliament building Friday.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced that Australian Federal Police would ramp up security in the Parliament House building in Canberra after agencies intercepted intelligence pointing to attacks against lawmakers, including Abbott, according to the Wall Street Journal.
"There certainly has been chatter amongst the terrorist support networks of an attack on government and people, and Parliament House has been specifically mentioned," Abbott told a state radio network.
The development comes a day after hundreds of heavily armed police carried out raids in major Australian cities to disrupt an alleged plot by Islamic State militants to snatch people off the streets and behead at least one.
Abbott has approved the deployment of Australian warplanes and 200 special-forces soldiers to Iraq to join the U.S.-led global coalition to attack ISIS insurgents.
The Australian Parliament is designed to be accessible to the public, and is by global standards lightly protected by mostly unarmed security guards.
Abbott’s government plans to introduce new laws increasing police powers to arrest Australians thought to have joined terror groups abroad. Abbott rejected criticism that authorities had overreacted and said he wanted to "wrap up the extended family of the Australian nation in an embrace."