“The operation was foiled because of the extra weight,” Machnouk said. “Intelligence branch followed on the case and found that Amer was involved in this act, and it appears that he was supposed to carry it out.”
Amer was detained upon arriving in Lebanon. His two brothers, Khaled and Mahmoud Khayyat, were arrested in Sydney in July and charged with “two counts of acts done in preparation for, or planning, a terrorist act.” At the time of the arrests the Deputy Commissioner for National Security, Michael Phelan, described the plan as “one of the most sophisticated plots that has ever been attempted on Australian soil.”
The plane Khayyat planned to blow up is believed to be an Etihad flight out of Sydney, with 400 people onboard, 120 of them Lebanese nationals. Machnouk went on to claim that the suspects wanted to punish the UAE and Australia for being part of an the coalition fighting Islamic State in Syria and Iraq and called on intelligence agencies to work together.
“When four Lebanese brothers in Australia decide to blow up an Emirati jet, this means that the whole world should work together to fight terrorism,” he said. “Coordination should be 24 hours a day between all security agencies to stop such attacks.”
Further to the plane plot, the brothers had also planned to carry out a second, more sophisticated plot, which involved constructing a device that would be used to stage a gas attack in a public place, using hydrogen sulphide.