MELBOURNE, Australia (AA) - Australian police have charged a 17-year-old reported to be mentally ill with two terror-related offenses for allegedly posting online threats to kill police and carry out an attack.
Local media reported that the Sydney teenager -- who was not named -- was refused bail Wednesday and charged with preparing for or planning a terrorist act, and using a telecommunications network with an intention to commit a serious offence.
He allegedly posted several Facebook messages since the weekend containing threats to kill police and another saying he was headed into Sydney to kill 20 people, according to Fairfax Media.
Police arrested him Tuesday afternoon at his home in The Oaks town, where they reportedly seized his laptop and a map on which several "attack sites" were labeled across Sydney.
His Legal Aid lawyer is expected to file a bail application Thursday.
The police commissioner for New South Wales state, Andrew Scipione, insisted that the arrest of the boy, who has a mental illness and previously went missing at least twice, “was the option we were left with".
"[A social media post] talked about hurting a police officer, in fact killing a police officer," Fairfax quoted him as saying.
He also said the teenager “is not in our knowledge connected with any terrorist group", according to new broadcaster ABC.
His family members reportedly expressed their confusion over the case, describing the boy as “not at all religious” and “of Greek origin”.
Referring to other cases in which teenagers have been arrested over the past year on suspicion of plotting terror activities, the state’s police minister, Troy Grant, voiced serious concern.
"The younger and younger these suspects and convicted terrorists are becoming is simply frightening," he said.
Australia has been engaged in efforts to increase anti-terror measures in recent years.
The country passed legislation in December to strip dual nationals of their citizenship if they are convicted or suspected of terrorism offenses.
It has also banned its citizens from traveling to Mosul in northern Iraq and Syria’s Raqqa province -- unless they have a "legitimate purpose" for being there.