Australia Terror Plot by Homegrown Jihadists Stopped in Sydney

  • Australia Terror Plot by Homegrown Jihadists Stopped in Sydney

Australia Terror Plot by Homegrown Jihadists Stopped in Sydney

An Australian man who was detained during raids to disrupt what authorities described as an Islamic State-inspired plot to bomb an Etihad Airways flight has been charged with weapons offences and released on bail, police said on Sunday.

Police in Australia say they have foiled more than a dozen terrorist attacks in recent years, including a planned Christmas Day attack in Melbourne in 2016 and a plot to kill police officers last year on Anzac Day, the April 25th public holiday to commemorate those in Australia and New Zealand who fought and died for their country.

Australian Federal Police drove Mehri out of police Sydney headquarters on Sunday, after he was granted bail and ordered to appear in court on August 24.

The two men, believed to be brothers, were each charged by the NSW Joint Counter Terrorism Team.

A third man who was arrested under special anti-terror laws was released without charge earlier this week. "Cleared of any terror allegation", it read. High-grade military explosives used to build the bomb were sent by air cargo from Turkey as part of a plot "inspired and directed" by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), police Deputy Commissioner National Security Michael Phelan said. One suggestion is the bomb was too heavy for carry-on baggage and the other is they got "cold feet".

Khaled, 49, accompanied his unwitting brother to Sydney airport ahead of his flight to Abu Dhabi, but the luggage never made it onto the plane and Khayat took it from the airport, police said.

When their original plan failed, the men dismantled the bomb - which had been hidden in a meat grinder - and attempted to build a device that could disperse risky chemicals, police allege.

Australia, a staunch USA ally that has sent troops to Afghanistan and Iraq, has been on heightened alert since 2014 for attacks by home-grown militants returning from fighting in the Middle East, or their supporters.

Counter-terrorism police obtained court permission to hold all the men for seven days under the "specified time" provisions of the Commonwealth Crimes Act.

His lawyer Moustafa Kheir took to Twitter just minutes after the vehicle drove out of the Surry Hills police headquarters to tell of his release. The will face court again in November.

The lawyer for Merhi, Moustafa Kheir, said his client was "relieved the truth is out" after a "tough few days".

Four men were arrested in the raids and homes in Surry Hills, Lakemba, Punchbowl, Wiley Park and Bankstown were searched.