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UK finds teen guilty of plotting terrorist attack

A British court has sentenced a teenage boy to jail for plotting a terrorist attack in Australia. One official described the planned attack as "shocking in its brutality and scope."

The court ordered the UK teenager, who can't be named due to his age, to serve at least five years in jail, with the possibility of a release only after it is determined he is no longer a threat to the public. He is one of the youngest people in Britain ever to be sentenced for terrorism.

The boy, who was 14 and living in Lancashire, England, at the time, was accused of helping organize a terrorist attack to take place in Melbourne, Australia. His co-conspirator was an 18-year-old living in Australia named Sevdet Besim, who was in contact with a recruiter from the terrorist organization calling itself the "Islamic State," or "IS," British prosecutors said.

The attack, which was to take place during a parade designed to honor members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZACS), was described as "shocking in its brutality and scope," according to Sue Hemming, a British counter-terrorism official, the AFP reported.

Besim and the boy planned the massacre through encrypted emails. According to the judge, the plan was already in its "last stages" before being foiled by the authorities.

"It is clear that the purpose of this proposed attack was to promote the ideology and agenda of ISIS," said one prosecutor during the trial, using an alternate name for IS, according to the AFP.

Besim's trial, meanwhile, is slated for next year.

The UK's spy chief, among others, have pushed for greater domestic surveillance as concern rises over the number of British citizens joining the ranks of terrorist groups like IS.

blc/kms (AFP, AP, dpa)

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