Plans for bomb attack on plane foiled

Jon Howard
August 1, 2017

The government has moved to bolster security at major Australian airports in the wake of an unprecedented terrorist plot on Australian soil.

Khaled Merhi, Abdul Merhi, Khaled Khayat and Mahmoud Khayat are being held in custody but are yet to be charged over the suspected bomb plot, as police continue to comb their Surrey Hills residence for evidence.

"I want to thank the travelling public for their forbearance, having to get to the airport earlier and wait longer to get through security", Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on ABC Radio in Perth this morning.

The beefed-up security has also caused crowds to congregate in baggage claim areas, as additional screening of checked-in luggage came into effect.

Travellers in Australia were advised to arrive at airports earlier than usual. Turnbull said some of these measures will be obvious to the public while others may not be.

Police previously said the men planned an attack on targets which included police headquarters in Sydney, along with civilian targets.

"We have very comprehensive and multi-layered security at our airports and we believe that would have been effective in this instance".

Yesterday, he said police believed the plot is "Islamic-inspired terrorism".

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Since then, Australia has been hit by five terrorist attacks, including multiple stabbings and, notably, a shooting targeting New South Wales police that left one person dead.

"You should infer that we think this was credible and there was an intention, and there was quite possibly a capability as well".

"We are closely following the terrorism investigation in Australia and assisting our partners", DHS said in a statement.

Colvin said the plotters had been intending to use an "improvised device" to bring down a plane, although he wouldn't elaborate on what type of device it was.

The national terror alert remains unchanged at "probable".

Most flights have been leaving on time despite the delays.

"Travellers should be prepared for additional scrutiny at screening points, and while it is important that Australians are aware of the increased threat, be assured we have the finest security and intelligence services in the world and they are working, as is my government, and all our governments around Australia, night and day to keep Australians safe", he said.

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