Feds claim IS chief led bomb plot
A TERROR plot to bring down a plane involving an IED had been assembled from components under the instruction of an Islamic State commander, Australian Federal Police will allege.
The components to build a chemical device were allegedly sent via post from Turkey in one package, deputy commissioner Michael Phelan said yesterday.
The men are accused of planning a terrorist act between July 16 and July 29 this year, according to a police charge sheet.
Police also allege in court documents that Khaled Khayat, 49, of Lakemba, and Mahmoud Khayat, 32, of Punchbowl, prepared or planned a terrorist act at Lakemba, in Sydney’s southwest.
Officers claim there are links to a “senior member of IS in Syria”.
“This is one of the most sophisticated plots that has ever been attempted on Australian soil,” Mr Phelan said.
“We could very well have had a catastrophic event.
“We will be alleging the communication commenced around about April, that one of the two people who has been charged was put in contact with this IS controller around about April this year.
“We are not going to as- sume anything. I am not going to be talking any names but one of the two gentlemen that has been charged, their brother we are alleging is a senior member of IS in Syria and he introduced another person we are calling the controller to one of the people that has been charged.”
The AFP will allege the components were assembled here under instruction from that commander and the IED was functional when it was allegedly planted on a relative who was due to take an Etihad flight on July 15.
The attempt was abandoned after the luggage proved too heavy aboard the flight.
The unsuspecting relative continued to board the plane. He has not yet returned to Australia but is not believed to be a part of the alleged plot.
The men appeared in court yesterday charged with two counts of preparing or planning for a terrorist act.
They did not apply for bail and it was formally refused. They will reappear before the same court on November 14.
The men’s barrister Michael Coroneos said outside court his clients should be presumed innocent until proven otherwise. to take
“All I can say is they’re entitled to the presumption of innocence,” he said.
“Once the brief of evidence is served we can assess their legal position.”
Mr Phelan confirmed that two search warrants were still ongoing.
One charge outlines how the pair allegedly planned an act between July 16 and 29 and another charge alleges they planned a terrorist act between April 13 and July 16.
They have been charged over an alleged plot to bomb an Etihad Airways flight out of Sydney.
Both men will face the charges, whichhi h carryry a maximaxi mum penalty of life in jail.
A second plot allegedly involved an attempt to manufacture hydrogen sulphide and release it in a public place, Mr Phelan said.
“This hydrogen sulphide is very difficult to make so I want to make it quite clear that whilst it may have been a hypothetical plot for these people to put forward we were a long way from having a functional device, there were certainly precursor chemicals and some of the components had been produced but we were a long way from having a chemical dispersion device,” he said.
Components of that device were allegedly found spread across the properties searched during terror raids over the past week.
“We are alleging that the explosive device and components of it including the propellant did come form overseas,” he said.
The charged Khayat brothers are two of the four men arrested in raids across Sydney last Saturday.
Their brother- in- law, Khaled Merhi, remains in detention. The fourth man, Khaled Merhi’s brother, Abdul Merhi, 50, was released without charge on Tuesday.