The 4th man arrested over an alleged Sydney airport bomb plot has been charged and released

Australian Federal Police Officers patrol Sydney Airport last week. Photo: Brook Mitchell/Getty Images.

A third man arrested last week over an alleged terror plot at Sydney airport has been charged with possessing a prohibited weapon and released on bail.

Khaled Merhi, 39, was charged by counter-terrorism police today after a week in detention and will face court later this month.

Police have already charged two men, Khaled Mahmoud Khayat, 49, of Lakemba and Mahmoud Khayat, 32, of Punchbowl, with terrorism-related offences and they were remanded in custody after facing court on Friday. The will face court again in November.

Another man, aged 50 – the four men are related by marriage – arrested last Saturday in raids across Sydney, was released without charge on Tuesday.

On Friday, 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.

Police will allege the two men charged began talking with Islamic State back in April and a senior ISIS commander organised the plan and organised parts for the makeshift bomb to be sent from Turkey.

Deputy commissioner Phelan described the plan as “one of the most sophisticated plots that has ever been attempted on Australian soil” and the bomb was a “high-end military-grade explosive”.

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.

Phelan said their plans were “completely disrupted”.

Last Thursday prime minister Malcolm Turnbull announced the security alert level at Australian airports will be restored to its previous status after being given the all-clear by the head of ASIO.

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