News reports today confirmed that Israeli intelligence provided crucial information to help foil an ISIS plot to blow up an Etihad A380 flight from Sydney to Abu Dhabi!
Details of the Planned Attack
In August, Australian security forces arrested two men suspected of trying to place an improvised explosive device on an Etihad Airways flight out of Sydney in a plot directed by Islamic State. One of the men, a 49-year-old from Sydney, brought the device to Sydney airport on July 15 in a piece of luggage that he had asked his brother to take with him on the flight — without telling the brother that the bag contained explosives, Australian Federal Police Deputy Commissioner Michael Phelan said at the time. But the bag never got past the check-in counter. Instead, Phelan said, the 49-year-old man left the airport with the bag, and his brother continued onto the flight without it.
“This is one of the most sophisticated plots that has ever been attempted on Australian soil,” Phelan told reporters at the time. “If it hadn’t been for the great work of our intelligence agencies and law enforcement over a very quick period of time, then we could well have a catastrophic event in this country.”
The components of the device they planned to use, including what Phelan described as a “military-grade explosive,” were sent by a senior Islamic State member to the men in Sydney via air cargo from Turkey. An Islamic State commander then instructed the two men how to assemble the device, which police later recovered, Phelan said. According to Australian authorities, when that attack failed, the suspects then planned to release highly toxic hydrogen sulfide gas in order to poison people. But they were arrested before their plot could advance significantly.
Luckily these two nations worked together to foil a potentially catastrophic attack that would’ve killed hundreds of people. With thousands of flights occurring every day around the world, we should be thankful that government agencies are working diligently to protect civilians in the sky. Let’s hope that countries continue to work together and share intelligence to ensure safety in all modes of transportation.