Aus­tralia air­port se­cu­rity el­e­vated over plot

Daily News - - WORLD -

CAN­BERRA: Se­cu­rity re­mained height­ened in air­ports around Aus­tralia to­day with more in­tense screen­ing of lug­gage af­ter law en­force­ment of­fi­cials said they had thwarted a plan to bring down an air­liner.

Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion Min­is­ter Pe­ter Dut­ton de­clined to com­ment on news­pa­per re­ports that Is­lamist ex­trem­ists planned to kill the oc­cu­pants of a plane with poi­son gas and that a home-made bomb was to be dis­guised as a kitchen min­cer.

Turn­bull an­nounced yes­ter­day that “a ter­ror­ist plot to bring down an air­plane” had been dis­rupted, but re­vealed few de­tails.

Four men ar­rested in raids in Syd­ney on Sat­ur­day – two Le­banese-Aus­tralian fa­thers and their sons – had yet to be charged by to­day.

Syd­ney’s The Daily Tele­graph news­pa­per re­ported that the plot­ters planned to make a bomb from wood shav­ings and ex­plo­sive ma­te­rial in­side a piece of kitchen equip­ment such as a minc­ing ma­chine.

Po­lice raided five homes Sat­ur­day and re­moved a do­mes­tic grinder and a min­cer used to make sausage, the news­pa­per said. The plot in­volved smug­gling the de­vice on a flight from Syd­ney to the Mid­dle East, pos­si­bly Dubai, as carry-on lug­gage.

Fair­fax Me­dia re­ported the bomb was found in a home in the in­ner-city sub­urb of Surry Hills, a few doors from the lo­cal mosque.

“It’ll be al­leged that this was an Is­lamist ex­trem­ist, ter­ror­ist mo­ti­va­tion,” Turn­bull said.

Se­cu­rity has been in­creased at Syd­ney Air­port since Thurs­day be­cause of the plot and has since been in­creased in all ma­jor Aus­tralian in­ter­na­tional and do­mes­tic ter­mi­nals.

Turn­bull would not spec­u­late on how long air­port se­cu­rity would re­main el­e­vated.

“They will be re­quired for as long as the threat is as­sessed as re­quir­ing them,” Turn­bull said. Aus­tralia’s ter­ror­ist threat level re­mained un­changed at “prob­a­ble”.

Aus­tralia is a staunch ally of the US and part­ner in mil­i­tary cam­paigns in the Mid­dle East. The Is­lamic State group has high­lighted Aus­tralia as a west­ern tar­get.

The plot was the 13th dis­rupted by po­lice since Aus­tralia’s ter­ror­ist threat level was el­e­vated in 2014. – ANA-AP

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