Police: ISIS directed Australian men to build bomb for Etihad Airways flight
A senior ISIS commander directed a group of Australian men to build a bomb destined for an Etihad Airways flight out of Sydney, police alleged Friday.
The improvised explosive device was due to be smuggled onto the July 15 service, but the attempt was aborted before they reached security. Two men have been charged, with a third still being questioned.
“This advice was coming from a senior member of the Islamic State,” Australian Federal Police Deputy Commissioner Michael Phelan said, referring to him as a “commander” based overseas.
Police also foiled a second alleged plot involving a “chemical dispersion device”, designed to release highly toxic hydrogen sulphide, but this was in the early stages.
“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,” said Phelan.
The ISIS leader sent components through international cargo to the men, then directed them on how to build a bomb, police claimed.
“With assistance from the ISIL commander, the accused assembled the IED into what we believe was a functioning IED to be placed on that flight,” said Phelan.
“There is a little bit of conjecture as to why it didn’t go ahead. It didn’t get past the check-in.”
Phelen referred to it as “one of the most sophisticated plots that has ever been attempted on Australian soil”.
Four men were arrested during raids in Sydney on Saturday.
Two of them - aged 32 and 49 and reportedly brothers - were each charged late Thursday with two counts of “acts done in preparation for, or planning, a terrorist act” and are due in court Friday.
One man has been released without charge and another is still being questioned.