Deputy Commissioner Shane Patton told reporters on Tuesday that the man was planning to shoot people around Federation Square in Melbourne's central business district (CBD) during New Year's Eve celebrations.
Victorian Police conduct a search of a house in Werribee in the Western suburbs of Melbourne in relation to the arrest of man suspected of plotting terror related activities.
Mr Patton said the man, who lived with his parents, had been on police radar since the beginning of the year and was part of a small community of extremists being monitored.
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"He's accessed documents produced by Al Qaeda Arabian Peninsula, which is a guidebook in respect to how to commit a terrorist act, and also how to use firearms".
The practising Muslim was born in Australia, is an Australian citizen and his parents were from Somalia, Mr Patton said.
Ali, 20, was charged Tuesday with gathering documents for and preparing to commit a terrorist attack.
The man is the 74th suspect arrested in Australia in 31 counterterrorism investigations since Australia's terrorism threat level was elevated to "probable" in September 2014.
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The operation is ongoing however the main lines of enquiry have been completed and at this time police do not anticipate further arrests.
In the exclusive amateur video, obtained by A Current Affair, Special Operations Group officers can be seen arresting Ali Ali outside a cafe in Werribee yesterday afternoon. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. He is still being interviewed by a joint police counter-terrorism team.
The foiled plot comes a year after police prevented another attack in the same area on Christmas Day, arresting several men who planned to use explosives, knives and guns to target the location.
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