UAE’s Eti­had work­ing with Aus­tralia in plane plot probe

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

The United Arab Emi­rates’ na­tional air­line said yes­ter­day that it is work­ing with Aus­tralian po­lice in their in­ves­ti­ga­tion into an at­tempted air­plane at­tack, sug­gest­ing it may have been a po­ten­tial tar­get. Aus­tralian au­thor­i­ties have said they thwarted a cred­i­ble ter­ror­ist plot to down an air­plane by smug­gling a de­vice on­board. They have pro­vided few de­tails, in­clud­ing the pre­cise na­ture of the threat or any air­lines in­volved.

Eti­had Air­ways, the small­est of three long-haul Gulf car­ri­ers that fly to Aus­tralia, con­firmed its in­volve­ment in the probe in a brief state­ment. “The Eti­had Air­ways avi­a­tion se­cu­rity (AVSEC) team is as­sist­ing the Aus­tralian Fed­eral Po­lice (AFP) with its in­ves­ti­ga­tion and the mat­ter is on­go­ing,” it said. “Eti­had is com­ply­ing fully with the en­hanced se­cu­rity mea­sures at air­ports in Aus­tralia and mon­i­tor­ing the sit­u­a­tion closely. Safety is the air­line’s num­ber one pri­or­ity.”

The Abu Dhabi-based car­rier re­fused to elab­o­rate on its role in the probe or con­firm whether one of its planes was tar­geted. Eti­had op­er­ates di­rect flights to four Aus­tralian cities: Bris­bane, Mel­bourne, Perth and Syd­ney. The air­line has built strong ties to the coun­try, buy­ing a stake in al­liance part­ner Vir­gin Aus­tralia, fea­tur­ing dow­nun­der stars in­clud­ing Ni­cole Kid­man in ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paigns and spon­sor­ing Mel­bourne’s soc­cer team and its home sta­dium.

Aus­tralian me­dia out­lets have re­ported that the con­spir­a­tors wanted to tar­get a flight to the Mid­dle East, pos­si­bly the Emi­rati city of Dubai, but they failed to get the de­vice on­board so changed their fo­cus to an Aus­tralian do­mes­tic air­line. Eti­had’s hub in Abu Dhabi is 130 kilo­me­ters from Dubai’s main air­port, the world’s busiest for in­ter­na­tional flights.

Dubai-based Emi­rates, the largest Mideast car­rier, has not re­sponded to re­quests for com­ment on the in­ves­ti­ga­tion. Po­lice ar­rested four men in raids in Syd­ney late Satur­day - two Le­bane­seAus­tralian fa­thers and their sons- in con­nec­tion with the in­ves­ti­ga­tion. Aus­tralia’s Nine Net­work tele­vi­sion re­ported yes­ter­day that one of the sus­pects had tried to check in on an in­ter­na­tional flight, and that might have been a test run to see if they could get a meat grinder on board as carry-on lug­gage. Of­fi­cials have re­fused to com­ment on me­dia re­ports that the plot was to con­ceal ex­plo­sives or chem­i­cals that would emit toxic gas in­side a piece of kitchen equip­ment. —AP

SYD­NEY: Po­lice di­rect lo­cals around a block of flats in the Syd­ney sub­urb of Lakemba yes­ter­day, after counter-ter­ror­ism raids across the city at the week­end. —AFP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kuwait

© PressReader. All rights reserved.