Australian jury convicts man in Etihad flight bomb plot

The bomb, which had been hidden in a carry-on suitcase, was discovered because the luggage was too heavy. (File/AFP)
Updated 02 May 2019
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Australian jury convicts man in Etihad flight bomb plot

  • The convicted man planted the bomb in his brother's hand luggage
  • He faces a maximum term of life in jail when he is sentenced

SYDNEY: An Australian jury on Wednesday convicted a man of plotting to blow up an Etihad Airways airliner on a flight from Sydney to the United Arab Emirates with a bomb hidden in a meat grinder.
Khaled Khayat, 51, had pleaded not guilty in the New South Wales state Supreme Court to conspiring in early 2017 to plan a terrorist act. The jury convicted him but will continue deliberating on Thursday on whether his brother Mahmoud Khayat, 34, is guilty of the same charge.
The plan involved detonating the bomb concealed in a meat grinder on a flight from Sydney on July 15, 2017, to the United Arab Emirates capital Abu Dhabi, but it was abandoned when a bag with the bomb inside was too heavy to be taken aboard as carry-on luggage.
The flight landed without incident and the brothers were arrested two weeks later.
Khayat is to be sentenced on July 16 and faces a possible maximum sentence of life in prison.


Pompeo pledges close cooperation with India but trade, defense issues unresolved

Updated 26 June 2019
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Pompeo pledges close cooperation with India but trade, defense issues unresolved

  • But US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave few specifics of how they would overcome disputes on issues
  • The disputes have led to higher trade tariffs by the two countries and created unease over the depth of their security alliance

NEW DELHI: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sought to reduce heightened trade tension with India on Wednesday, promising a renewed focus on negotiating improved trade and investment ties between the two nations.
But Pompeo, on a visit to India, gave few specifics of how they would overcome disputes on issues ranging from access to Indian markets for leading American companies to New Delhi’s demands for foreign firms to store Indian data in the country, and exports of steel and aluminum to the United States.
The two nations are “friends who can help each other all around the world,” Pompeo told a joint news conference with Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar after they met.
The current differences were expressed “in the spirit of friendship,” he added.
The disputes have led to higher trade tariffs by the two countries and created unease over the depth of their security alliance.
In particular, the sudden introduction of new e-commerce rules for foreign investors in February angered the Americans because it showed New Delhi was prepared to move the goalposts to hurt two of the largest US companies, discount retailer Walmart, and Amazon.com Inc.
Walmart last year invested $16 billion to buy control of Indian e-commerce firm Flipkart.
Just days before Pompeo’s visit, India slapped higher retaliatory tariffs on 28 US products following Washington’s withdrawal of key trade privileges for New Delhi.
Jaishankar, a former Indian ambassador to the United States, played down the spat on Wednesday.
“If you trade with someone and they are your biggest trading partner, it is impossible you don’t have trade issues,” he said.
India’s ties with Russia and Iran, both now subject to US sanctions, are also a sore point.
US pressure has led India to stop buying oil from Iran, a top energy supplier. The United States has also stepped up pressure on India not to proceed with its purchase of S-400 surface-to-air missile systems from Russia.
The missile deal and Iranian oil were both discussed during their meeting, Jaishankar and Pompeo said, but mentioned no resolution of either at the news conference.
Earlier, Pompeo met Prime Minister Narendra Modi for talks at his official residence in the capital, New Delhi, and they exchanged handshakes in images broadcast on television.
“The Prime Minister expressed his strong commitment to achieve the full potential of bilateral relations in trade and economy, energy, defense, counterterrorism and people-to-people contacts,” the foreign ministry said in a statement, without elaborating.
Pompeo is expected to round off the trip with a policy speech hosted by the US embassy, before departing on Thursday for a summit of leaders of the Group of 20 nations in Japan.