THE tip-off police received over a suspected plot to smuggle a bomb onto a flight came from a foreign intelligence source on the verge of issuing a public travel warning, according to the ABC.
7:30 reports Australian police had hoped to gather more evidence before making arrests but the UK government said it would issue a public security threat if the raids did not happen. It’s been reported intercepted communications in Syria were the source of the intelligence. One of the men in custody has been named as Khaled Khayat after police raided various addresses over the weekend. He has not been charged and is in police custody with three other men who are assisting inquiries. Police are also reportedly concerned the men are so-called “cleanskins” with no previous association to a known group.
Over the weekend the New South Wales Joint Counter Terrorism Team (JCTT) conducted multiple searches at four addresses in Lakemba, Surry Hills, Wiley Park and Punchbowl. Police could be seen removing items from the properties and combing through rubbish bins to find vital clues. They have remained tight tipped about their discoveries however it’s believed an improvised bomb may have been hidden inside a meat grinder and poisonous gas may have been involved in the alleged plot. Police may have also found a documents relating to a flight from Sydney to Jakarta.
The alleged conspiracy may have involved smuggling the grinder in hand luggage onto a flight from Sydney to the Middle East.
“I don’t want to go into the detail but … there was a significant threat that federal police, ASIO, NSW police and other agencies dealt with and are in the process of dealing with,” Border Protection Minister Peter Dutton said.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull described the conspiracy as “a very serious terrorist plot” but refused to elaborate. He also wouldn’t confirm reports an overseas tip-off triggered the raids.
“Good intelligence, great police work, great investigation, great co-ordination has enabled us to disrupt that plot,” Mr Turnbull told reporters in Perth.
Australian National University criminologist Clarke Jones believes the poisonous gas theory is less likely than the grinder plot and suggested the latter was “amateurish” in nature.
“If it was to be hand luggage, that’s a very crude plan and shows a lack of experience and the fact that they might not have travelled a great extent,” he told AAP.