Israeli intel foiled IS plot to bring down Aussie plane, says Netanyahu


It would appear to be the first time that Israel has acknowledged a role in uncovering what investigators said was an ISIS-directed plot, which reportedly involved a plan to get a homemade bomb onto an Etihad Airways plane traveling out of Sydney, which was first revealed by Australian authorities last July.

According to the IDF Spokesperson's Unit: "Unit 8200 provided exclusive intelligence information to Australia that prevented the ISIS attack that would have resulted in the destruction of the plane".

The device never made it onto the plane, apparently because it was too heavy to pass check-in.

Australian intelligence officials received a foreign intelligence tip-off on July 26, and only then learned of the alleged meat grinder plot which prompted them to raid five properties across Sydney and arrest four men on July 29.

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Despite the inconsistencies in Mr Netanyahu's statements, Mr Dutton has been quick to praise the relationship between Israeli and Australian intelligence agencies.

"This Etihad flight was nearly blown out of the sky and it would have resulted in hundreds of people losing their lives, so we are very grateful for the assistance Israel provided in that matter", he told Sydney radio 2GB on Thursday.

Counter-terrorism expert Greg Barton, from Deakin University, said that was probably accurate.

The IDF cyberwarfare Unit 8200 thwarted an Islamic State terror attack on an Australian airliner last summer, according to media reports on Wednesday.

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Authorities have said the alleged plot was linked to the Islamic State group.

Mr. Dutton said the information from Israel led "directly" to dealing with the matter, before adding: "There's an enormous capacity they have within the intelligence-gathering space and it's an important relationship with ASIO and the Australian Federal Police".

The incident took place in July 2017, and two Australian men were found guilty of attempting to blow up the the plane after they would hve poisoned the passengers on board.

Khaled Merhi, 40, was charged with an unrelated offence of possessing an unauthorised Taser.

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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.