Police have arrested two men for possessing an improvised explosive device and extremist material as the head of Australian neo-Nazi group claims that their members’ homes was raided by authorities.
On Wednesday evening, a South Australian Police spokesperson told Business Insider Australia that they had carried out searches on the homes of people associated with an investigation into ideologically motivated violent extremism.
A 32-year-old man from Munno Para was arrested for possession of an improvised explosive device and possessing instructions for manufacturing explosive, prohibited and dangerous weapons.
A 28-year-old man from Surrey Downs was arrested for possession of extremist material.
“The investigation remains ongoing and there has been no known threat to any person or the public,” the police spokesperson said in an emailed statement.
This statement was issued in response to questions from Business Insider Australia about claims made by Tom Sewell, the head of Australian neo-Nazi group National Socialist Network.
In videos posted to Telegram, Sewell said police raided the homes of fifteen of the group’s members and arrested at least one individual.
He also claims that police seized electronic devices and “political material” during the searches.
Sewell falsely claims that there is no definition of extremist material, a legal term that’s defined as including material that directly or indirectly encourages, glorifies, promotes or condones terrorist acts.
The far right National Socialist Network is a relatively new Neo-Nazi group in Australia formed out of two previous groups, the Lads Society and Antipodean Resistance.
Until this year, the group had garnered media attention by placing stickers of their logos in public places and taking photos of their masked members at landmarks holding their flag, using social media to distribute this content for attention.
In January, the group was reported to have camped in the Grampians where they marched and burned a cross.
Thomas Sewell, a former Australian Defence Force Member and long-time member of far-right Australian groups, was charged with assault after allegedly attacking a channel Nine security guard in March.
Last month, ASIO director general of security Mike Burgess said that ideological extremism investigations, an umbrella phrase replacing terms like ‘right-wing extremism’ and ‘Islamic extremism’ now make up 40% of the agency’s priority counter-terrorism caseload.