Alleged bombers kept ‘ mule’ in the dark
AN UNWITTING sacrificial lamb was going to be used by an alleged terror cell to carry a bomb on to a passenger jet out of Sydney, News Corp Australia has been told.
The plan came unstuck some time ago when it was determined the explosive device they were intending to use turned out to be too heavy for cabin baggage.
“The person was going to be blown up without knowing they were part of a suicide mission,” a source said yesterday.
Australian intelligence and police only received information about the alleged plan early last week after the plans to carry the bomb disguised inside a kitchen meat mincer on board an Etihad flight to Abu Dhabi were revived.
A major concern for the authorities is that they only found out about it well after plans had been hatched to blow up the aircraft.
None of the three men still being questioned was going to be the one who carried the bomb on board, a source said.
Three of the four men arrested during counter- terrorism raids on five addresses across Sydney on Saturday remained in custody yesterday. No one has been charged. A fourth man, Abdul Merhi, 50, was released late on Tuesday without being charged.
His lawyer Moustafa Kheir said that Mr Merhi was shocked to have been associated with the allegations.
“It’s just unfathomable that he would be associated with anything like this,” he said.
He said Mr Merhi’s family was also in shock and his life had been “turned upside down”. “He just wants to go back to as normal life as possible now,” Mr Kheir said, adding he would review the actions of police.
Khaled Merhi and his brother- in- law Khaled Khayat along with one of Mr Khayat’s family continued last night to be questioned by police, but no charges have been laid.