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'Substantial' explosives seized in Australia

26 july 2011, 17:11
Heavily-armed police on Tuesday seized a "substantial" stockpile of explosives in a raid on a house north of Melbourne, but ruled out any religious or racial connections, AFP reports.

A 32-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of possessing items used to make bombs after arson and explosives squad detectives, together with the Special Operations Group, executed a search warrant at the house in Castlemaine.

"We were aware he was obtaining explosives through various means. There are precursors, not particularly for fertilisers, but for other chemicals he has obtained," Detective Senior Sergeant Jeff Maher told the Herald-Sun newspaper.

"There are also commercially available explosives as well. We are talking about a fairly substantial quantity.

"I can't go into the wheres and what-fors as to where he is obtaining it. We believe it is not racially, religiously or politically motivated."

Local reports said police were acting on a tip-off and evacuated neighbours before a bomb squad robot was used to enter the man’s home.

A friend of the arrested man told the Melbourne Age newspaper he had a fascination with firearms and explosives.

"He's always been into guns, knives, bullets and all that stuff," the man, who declined to give his name, said. "He knows a lot about guns and explosives."

The friend said the man, who is expected to be charged later Tuesday, was originally from England.

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