Israel foiled terror plot on Australian airliner, says Netanyahu

‘Unit 8200’ prevented ‘aerial attack abroad by Islamic State’, according to Israeli army

Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu gestures as he speaks during the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in Jerusalem, Wednesday, February 21st, 2018. Photograph: Sebastian Scheiner/AP

Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu gestures as he speaks during the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in Jerusalem, Wednesday, February 21st, 2018. Photograph: Sebastian Scheiner/AP

 

Israeli intelligence helped to prevent an attack on an “Australian airliner”, according to Israel’s prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Mr Netanyahu said on Wednesday Israeli intelligence services had prevented the downing of the aircraft as part of wide-ranging international intelligence-sharing, but gave no details.

His comments, during a speech in Jerusalem to US Jewish leaders, followed a statement from the Israeli army that a branch of military intelligence known as “Unit 8200” had foiled an “aerial attack abroad by Islamic State”.

Israeli media said the army statement referred to an attempted bombing in July of an Etihad Airways flight due to leave Sydney for Abu Dhabi, which was foiled by Australian security forces before the plane took off.

An Australian man had sent his unsuspecting brother to Sydney airport to catch the flight carrying a home-made bomb disguised as a meat-mincer, built at the direction of a senior Islamic State commander, Australian police said.

Days after the plot was revealed, Lebanon’s interior minister said Beirut had monitored the brothers for more than a year and had worked with Australian authorities to disrupt the attack.

Mr Netanyahu said: “We revealed today that Israel’s intelligence services prevented the shooting down of an Australian airliner and I can tell you that this is one of many many such actions that we did preventing terrorism around the world.” –Reuters