Published: Tue, August 08, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Aus police releases another man in foiled terror plot

Aus police releases another man in foiled terror plot

THE last of four Sydney men arrested over an alleged Islamic State-orchestrated terrorist plot to blow up a passenger plane has been freed by police after being charged with possessing a prohibited weapon.

Australian authorities charged two men on Friday in relation to a terrorism plot which planned to bring down an worldwide passenger jet with a bomb.

Counter-terrorism police had successfully obtained court permission to hold all the men for seven days under the "specified time" provisions of the Commonwealth Crimes Act which recognises that terrorism investigations are inherently complex and that there can be legitimate reasons for extended periods of detention for suspects in such matters. A fourth man taken into custody was released without charge last Tuesday.

It is unclear what weapon the charge relates to, however police report the charge is not terror related.

The police have called the plan "one of the most sophisticated terror plots attempted on Australian soil".

The pieces for the improvised explosive device were allegedly shipped from Turkey to Australia.

AFP alleged one of the two men is a brother of a senior IS member in Syria and that the materials sent were "high military grade explosives".

One suggestion is the bomb was too heavy for carry-on baggage and the other is that they got "cold feet".

Australian police said on August 4 that an Australian man sent his unsuspecting brother to Sydney airport last month to catch an Etihad Airways flight carrying a home-made bomb disguised as a meat grinder.

Australia, a staunch USA ally that has sent troops to Afghanistan and Iraq, has been on heightened alert since 2014 for attacks by home-grown militants returning from fighting in the Middle East, or their supporters.

When their original plan failed, the men dismantled the bomb - which had been hidden in a meat grinder - and attempted to build a device that could disperse unsafe chemicals, police allege.

The men were arrested in raids across the city, and homes in Surry Hills, Lakemba, Punchbowl, Wiley Park and Bankstown were searched through the week.

A plastic bag and portable generator are photographed at a Surry Hills house raided by police.

'My client Khaled Merhi has also been released.

Magistrate Michael Price formally refused them bail and adjourned the case to the same court on November 14.

Merhi will face court later this month.

Kheir said he would review "what basis police had to do what they did" and said Abdul Merhi's life had been "turned upside down" by his arrest.

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