Wednesday, 20 February, 2019

Australia thanks Israel or thwarting plan to attack airline

Soldiers from the 8200 Unit in training Soldiers from the 8200 Unit in training
Melinda Barton | 22 February, 2018, 14:10

"The Israeli intelligence services thwarted the downing of an Australian plane, an unimaginable slaughter", the Israeli leader told an American Jewish conference in Jerusalem on Wednesday.

"The unit provided exclusive intelligence that led to the prevention of an air attack by the Islamic State in 2017 in Australia", the officer said.

Mr. Netanyahu's revelation came during a speech in Jerusalem to U.S. Jewish leaders, and followed a statement from the Israeli army that a branch of military intelligence known as "Unit 8200" had foiled an "aerial attack overseas by Islamic State".

In August 2017, then AFP deputy commissioner Michael Phelan confirmed the improvised bomb never made it past the airline's check-in because it exceeded the hand luggage weight limit.

In late July, Australian authorities said that an Australian man sent his unsuspecting brother to Sydney airport to catch an Etihad Airways flight on July 15 carrying a home-made bomb disguised as a meat grinder built at the direction of a senior ISIS commander, Reuters reported.

"This is just one of the dozens of terrorist attacks that we have stopped around the world", he said, according to The Times of Israel. In addition, the IDF explained that an Iranian cyberattack on Israeli networks was prevented by the elite intelligence unit.

Last July, a USA official who spoke to Reuters said a foreign intelligence service had intercepted communications between the plotters in Sydney and Islamic State members in Syria. Partnering with the Israeli intelligence community allowed the transfer of the secret information to the local and national defense authorities in Australia who succeeded in preventing the attack.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke this evening about the unit's effectiveness after the incident was revealed.

Two of the arrested men, from Sydney's western suburbs, have each been charged with two counts of acting in preparation for, or planning, a terrorist act.

Nohad Machnouk also alleged one of the Lebanese man linked to the failed plot had joined the ranks of Islamic State in al-Raqqa in Syria, the de-facto capital of the Jihadist group.

A third was charged with an unrelated weapons offence, while the fourth was released without charge.