Aussie man sent un­sus­pect­ing sib­ling to air­port with homemade bomb

New Straits Times - - World -


AN Aus­tralian man sent his un­sus­pect­ing brother to the Syd­ney air­port to catch an Eti­had Air­ways flight car­ry­ing a homemade bomb, dis­guised as a meat min­cer, built at the di­rec­tion of a se­nior Is­lamic State com­man­der, po­lice said yes­ter­day.

De­tail­ing one of Aus­tralia’s worst-known mil­i­tant plots, po­lice said two men, who had been charged with ter­ror-re­lated of­fences, also planned to build a de­vice to re­lease poi­sonous gas in a pub­lic area.

High-grade mil­i­tary ex­plo­sives used to build the bomb were sent by air cargo from Turkey as part of a so­phis­ti­cated plot “in­spired and di­rected” by IS, Aus­tralian Fed­eral Po­lice Deputy Com­mis­sioner Na­tional Se­cu­rity Michael Phe­lan said.

He said the plot tar­geted an Eti­had Air­ways flight on July 15, but the bomb never made it past air­port se­cu­rity.

“This is one of the most so­phis­ti­cated plots that has ever been at­tempted on Aus­tralian soil,” Phe­lan said.

Po­lice al­leged that one of the two men charged on Thurs­day had been in­tro­duced to IS by his brother, who they said was a se­nior mem­ber of the group in Syria.

Com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween the ac­cused man and IS be­gan around April. Un­der the in­struc­tion of the uniden­ti­fied IS com­man­der, the men built a “fully func­tion­ing IED” (im­pro­vised ex­plo­sive de­vice).

One of the ar­rested men’s brother was un­aware that he was car­ry­ing a bomb, dis­guised as a com­mer­cial meat min­cer, in his lug­gage, and tried to check it in at the air­port, po­lice said.

“We’ll be al­leg­ing that the per­son who was to carry the IED on the plane had no idea they were go­ing to be car­ry­ing an IED,” Phe­lan said.

There was “a lit­tle bit of con­jec­ture” about what hap­pened next, he said, but it ap­peared one of the ac­cused then left the air­port, tak­ing the lug­gage with him.

The man’s brother boarded the plane and has not re­turned to Aus­tralia.

“I want to make it quite clear — it never got near screen­ing. I don’t want any­one to sug­gest that it... pen­e­trated air­port se­cu­rity lay­ers... be­cause it did not. It didn’t go any­where near it,” Phe­lan said.

Eti­had yes­ter­day said it had been work­ing closely with the Aus­tralian Fed­eral Po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion. Reuters

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