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Lebanon helped foil bomb attack on Australia-UAE flight: Interior minister

Lebanese Interior Minister Nohad Machnouk. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)
BEIRUT: Lebanese intelligence helped to foil a Daesh plot last month to blow up a plane with 400 passengers flying from Australia to the UAE, Lebanon’s interior minister said on Monday.
Amer Al-Khayyat, one of four brothers from northern Lebanon involved in the plot, tried to board an Etihad Airways flight from Sydney to Abu Dhabi on July 15 carrying explosives packed into a meat grinder and a child’s doll. His baggage was rejected because it was overweight.
Al-Khayyat and two of his brothers, Khaled and Mahmoud, had been under surveillance for more than a year by authorities in Lebanon and Australia, interior minister Nohad Machnouk said. A fourth brother, Tarek, a Daesh leader in Raqqa, Syria, gave orders for the attempted bombing.
Amer was arrested in Lebanon, and Khaled and Mahmoud were among four people detained in raids this month by Australian counter-terrorism police in suburbs in Sydney.
The three brothers made frequent trips between Australia and Lebanon, Machnouk said.
The role of Lebanese intelligence was to “provide the security services in Australia with the necessary information and assistance in monitoring the brothers,” he said.
When asked whether the operation would have been successful if the luggage had not exceeded the weight limit, Machnouk said: “Probably, yes.”
“The plane had 120 Lebanese on board in addition to other nationalities,” he said, according to AFP.
“When four Lebanese brothers in Australia decide to blow up an Emirati jet this means that the whole world should work together to fight terrorism,” Machnouk said, according to AP.

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