Remarkable details have emerged about a bid to down a plane that was to have flown from Sydney, Australia to the Middle East. The bombing was only prevented as passengers’ hand luggage was being weighed. Some 400 people were preparing to board the Etihad Airways flight to Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab |Emirates.
A series of arrests was made at the end of July but nothing was made public at the time about the plane’s destination and those who wanted to blow up the aircraft.
Apparently, Lebanese intelligence services learned of the plot and informed their colleagues in Australia.
At least two devices would have been used in the attack; explosives concealed in a Barbie-style doll and also in a meat mincer.
The bombing would have been carried out by Amer Khayyat from northern Lebanon. Three of his siblings were also involved in the plot, including Tareq, the mastermind.
More than a year ago Tareq Hayyat went to Syria and quickly became a senior officer in ISIS. Since then, Lebanese intelligence was surveilling his brothers in Australia. Beirut and Canberra cooperated in the mission.
In July 2017, Amer traveled to Lebanon, supposedly to celebrate Eid-al-Fitr, while Khaled and Mahmoud remained at home in Australia. Throughout this period all four brothers remained in constant contact.
Tareq’s three brothers began preparing the materials for the attack.
The plan was for Amer to detonate the device when the plane had been airborne for 20 minutes. He made it to the airport in Sydney but was stopped because his hand luggage weighed some 15 pounds (seven kilos) more than permitted.
Lebanese officials say Amer was to have received help from a member of ground-staff in Sydney to get the explosives on board.
This graphic was created by Clarion when the arrests were initially carried out.