Israel foiled 'plane terror plot' in Australia

Israel foiled 'plane terror plot' in Australia

"And I think we should praise the Israeli intelligence, which protects not only Israeli citizens, but also many citizens around the world", Netanyahu said.

Lebanese-Australian brothers Khaled Khayat, 49, and Mahmoud Khayat, 32, were later arrested in Sydney and charged with "preparing for, or planning, a terrorist attack".

Mr. Netanyahu's revelation came during a speech in Jerusalem to U.S. Jewish leaders, and followed a statement from the Israeli army that a branch of military intelligence known as "Unit 8200" had foiled an "aerial attack overseas by Islamic State".

"The Israeli intelligence services thwarted the downing of an Australian plane, an unimaginable slaughter", the Israeli leader told an American Jewish conference in Jerusalem on Wednesday.

Last July, Australian authorities said that they had managed to prevent a Daesh-inspired plot to down a passenger jet that was due to fly from Sydney to Abu Dhabi.

The information gleaned by the elite intelligence unit led to the arrest of four conspirators in the suburbs of Sydney.

The Israeli military said thwarting the attack "saved the lives of dozens".

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Netanyahu did not give further details but The Times of Israel and other local media said the foiled plot was the attempted bombing of the Etihad Airways plane in Sydney.

The attempt was aborted before they reached security, apparently because the device was too heavy to pass check-in.

The Israeli soldiers, along with the country's intelligence community, provided the Australian authorities with the information that they gathered on the planned attack.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton on Thursday said the federal government was grateful for information provided by Israel to ASIO, which in turn worked with other worldwide partners. Another was charged with an unrelated offense.

"This Etihad flight was nearly blown out of the sky and it would have resulted in hundreds of people losing their lives", he told a local radio station in Sydney.

Australian Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said Israel was "directly" involved in uncovering the alleged plot.

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