Published On: Fri, Aug 4th, 2017

Australian Police Reveal Abandoned Airport Terror Plot

PHOTO: View from Sydney Airport. (photo via Flickr/Lukas Benc)

Police in Australia announced Friday that two men are facing terrorism charges after they reportedly planned to smuggle an improvised explosive device onto an Etihad Airways flight last month.

According to The Associated Press, Australian Federal Police Deputy Commissioner Michael Phelan said Khaled Khayat, a 49-year-old Australian, brought an explosive device in a piece of luggage to Sydney Airport on July 15.

Khayat asked his brother to take the bag containing the bomb with him on his flight, without the brother’s knowledge, but the plan was abandoned.

Police are uncertain why the attack was aborted, but Khayat left the airport with the bag.

“This is one of the most sophisticated plots that has ever been attempted on Australian soil,” Phelan said in a statement. “If it hadn’t been for the great work of our intelligence agencies and law enforcement over a very quick period of time, then we could well have a catastrophic event in this country.”

These are the first details revealed since Australian authorities arrested Khayat and 32-year-old Mahmoud Khayat, both of which have been charged with two counts of planning a terrorist act. The men remain in jail, facing life in prison if convicted.

READ MORE: Terrorism Won’t Stop Tourism 

Police officials said the components of the explosive device were sent to the men in Australia by a senior Islamic State member via air cargo from Turkey. Since the arrests, the country’s immigration minister has ordered extra security sweeps on all air cargo.

Once the airline bombing attempt was abandoned, an Islamic State member advised the men to change tactics and develop a chemical dispersion device that would release highly toxic hydrogen sulfide. The men were arrested July 29 after police received a tip through intelligence agencies.

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