Parts for the bomb a terrorist group planned to use to try and blow up a passenger plane departing Sydney were sent to Australia by Islamic State, counter-terrorism police allege.
Australian Federal Police deputy commissioner Michael Phelan said police will allege the improvised explosive device (IED) was going to be taken on an Etihad plane bound for Abu Dhabi on July 15, but the plan was aborted.
“At no stage did the IED breach security,” he said.
A senior Islamic State commander organised the plan and organised parts for the makeshift bomb to be sent from Turkey. Police will allege the men began talking with ISIS back in April.
“The IED was sent through international cargo. With assistance from the ISIL commander, the accused assembled the IED – so the components of the IED, into what we believe was a functioning IED to be placed on that flight,” Phelan said.
Police charged two men, Khaled Mahmoud Khayat, 49, of Lakemba and Mahmoud Khayat, 32, of Punchbowl, with terrorism-related offences last night. They are scheduled to appear at Parramatta Court today.
Police released one of the men, aged 50 – they are all related by marriage – on Tuesday without charge. The fourth man arrested on Saturday in raids across Sydney remains in custody.
Deputy commissioner Phelan described the plan as “one of the most sophisticated plots that has ever been attempted on Australian soil”.
The group were also working on a second plot involving a “highly toxic” gas bomb using hydrogen sulphide, the highly poisonous, corrosive, and flammable chemical known as rotten egg gas.
But the plotters only had some components and chemicals and were “a long way from having a functional device,” Phelan said.
The deputy commissioner said their plans were “completely disrupted”.
“Not only have we stopped the IED that was believed to go on the plane but we have also completely disrupted the intended chemical dispersion device,” he said.
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