Netanyahu says Israeli intelligence foiled ISIS plot to attack Australian plane

Lucy Bush
February 23, 2018

"This Etihad flight was nearly blown out of the sky and it would have resulted in hundreds of people losing their lives", the minister told a Sydney radio station. Within 48 hours of discovering the first detail about the plot, the team relayed the intelligence to the Australian authorities.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Munich Security Conference that Israel's military intelligence "helped prevent dozens of terror attacks in dozens of countries by the Islamic State".

"This would have caused a major disruption in global air transport, and this is only one of dozens of terrorist attacks we have foiled around the world", Netanyahu said, later referring to the failed plot as an IS attempt.

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.

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"We are very grateful for the assistance that Israel provided in that matter and we still have a very close relationship with them and many other partners". The soldiers transferred the information to the Australian authorities, which arrested the terrorists, who were close to executing the attack.

Counter-terrorism expert Greg Barton, from Deakin University, said that was probably accurate. The details of the prevented attack were publicized in Australia previous year but it was not then revealed which intelligence agency prevented the attack.

"But of course intelligence agencies cooperate on urgent matters like this so it's likely it was a fusion operation".

"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.

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On Wednesday the IDF revealed that their elite intelligence unit 8200 has successfully thwarted numerous terror attacks on targets around the western world that were being planned by ISIS.

Australian police said the plot had been orchestrated by "a senior member of IS" based overseas. They were arrested before their plot could advance.

"And it's just sheer luck that that plot didn't go further."
They arrested the men on July 29.

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

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