Lawyer for man arrested over foiled terror plot to review police action

Violet Powell
August 5, 2017

Etihad Airways is cooperating with Australia's Federal Police service as they investigate a foiled plot to bring down an airliner, the airline said in a statement on Tuesday.

His solicitor Moustafa Kheir is concerned his client's identity was revealed and declared he'll review what basis the police had to identify his client.

Mr Kheir told AAP that Mr Merhi underwent days of intense questioning. "We think long and hard about our transport arrangements. there are very few airports in the world which are as hardened as Australian airports", Keenan said.

"What is very clear is that, if these allegations were to have gone ahead, it would have been just an enormously awful thing to have happened to our country", he said late Monday.

"He's had his life turned upside down".

"He just wants to go back to as normal life as possible now. he was shocked that he was being questioned".

"That's caused a lot of damage to him".

The alleged conspiracy to smuggle the bomb onto a flight, hidden in a meat grinder, was uncovered after a tip-off from a foreign intelligence agency.

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But Sydney Airport's plan takes that further, linking the same facial recognition system with every other touchpoint throughout the terminal, including baggage drop, admission to the security screening queues, clearing passport control without a passport, completing duty-free purchases and even entering airline lounges document-free.

The extra measures "will involve some inconvenience to the travelling public, but I think people will appreciate that while we're continuing this investigation, we're taking these heightened security measures to ensure the travelling public remains safe", he added.

Police have spent days rifling through properties in Lakemba, Wiley Park, Punchbowl and Surry Hills in the search for evidence.

It is not yet known what type of plane the group allegedly wanted to target or when they meant to carry out the attack.

"Terrorism is very different to other crimes; you can not wait until you have the flawless brief, you can not wait until you have all the pieces of the puzzle because you can not afford to let the criminal act happen", he said.

Investigators allege the plot involved an improvised explosive device.

As Australian authorities ramp up security measures at airports across the country, a leading Australian aviation expert has warned that it's very hard to balance safety concerns with convenience of travel because "we can't balance it".

Due to the recent spate of terror attacks in Britain and France, and the extremely high security protocols around restrictions, Bishop said terrorist groups are probably looking for targets that appear soft and trying to "test the water, to see if they could pull an attack off".

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