Israeli intelligence services provided critical information that foiled a plot by the Islamic State terrorist group to blow up a plane mid-flight, Australia’s Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton said.
His confirmation follows remarks by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday that Israel had prevented the downing of an “Australian airliner” as part of wide-ranging international intelligence-sharing operations. Israel’s intelligence agencies had prevented “an unimaginable slaughter,” Mr. Netanyahu confirmed.
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 abroad by Islamic State.”
As Breitbart Jerusalem reported, the attack in question occured last year when Australian police foiled what they claimed was an ‘Islamic-inspired’ terror plot designed to bring down an Etihad flight with a home made bomb. “We do believe it is Islamic-inspired terrorism. Exactly what is behind this is something that we will need to investigate fully,” Australian Federal Police commissioner Andrew Colvin 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”.
Now ABC News reports Mr. Dutton has backed Israel’s role in defeating the terror plot.
“This Etihad flight was almost blown out of the sky and it would have resulted in hundreds of people losing their lives,” the minister told a Sydney radio station.
“We are very grateful for the assistance that Israel provided in that matter and we still have a very close relationship with them and many other partners.”
Mr. Dutton said the information from Israel led “directly” to dealing with the matter, before adding: “There’s an enormous capacity they have within the intelligence-gathering space and it’s an important relationship with ASIO and the Australian Federal Police.”
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