Australia police
Australian police are on the hunt for a masked gunman who fired eight shots in the air in SydneyReuters

Police are hunting a man after he fired off eight rounds in the middle of a shopping strip in western Sydney.

The incident took place in Harris Park at about 2:30pm (5.30am BST) on Saturday, 18 April.

A man walked outside and fired a series of bullets into the air before fleeing.

Police shut Wigram Street in Harris Park as a manhunt was launched. Nobody was injured.

Diners disturbed

"Police from Parramatta Local Area Command are investigating reports of a public place shooting at Harris Park this afternoon," police said in a statement.

"About 2.35pm local time, police were advised that a number of shots were fired towards the business," it said.

"My wife and I were eating at Billu's Indian restaurant when this gunman appeared out of the middle of nowhere and fired away," visitor Ramkrishna Gudipudi told Fairfax Media.

"After he fled we walked over and saw eight bullets scattered all over the ground.

"You don't expect to be eating lunch and have bullets fired around you," he continued.

The event comes after five teenagers were arrested in an operation conducted by Victoria State Police and the Australian Federal Police in Melbourne on Saturday (18 April) for alleged terror-related offences.

The men are alleged to have planned an Islamic State-inspired attack on police in Melbourne next week to mark the centenary of Australian and New Zealand Corps landings at Gallipoli during the First World War.

"It is alleged both men were undertaking preparations for a terrorist attack at an Anzac Day activity in Melbourne which included targeting police officers," Australian Federal Police Acting Deputy Commissioner Neil Gaughan said.

One of the five men was named as 18-year-old Sevdet Besim, who appeared at Melbourne magistrates court on 18 April was charged with preparing, or planning, a terrorist attack.