ISTANBUL – Reuters
Turkish police have said they were working with Australian authorities to investigate a foiled plot to bomb an Etihad Airways flight using explosives which Canberra said were flown in from Turkey.
In a statement issued late on Aug. 5, police said they had contacted Australian authorities as soon as they received news of the foiled plot.
The two sides have “started working to clarify unclear and unconfirmed matters regarding the possibility that explosive substances were sent from Turkey three months ago”, said the statement.
Australian police said on Aug. 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.
High-grade military explosives used to build the bomb were sent by air cargo from Turkey as part of a plot “inspired and directed” by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), police Deputy Commissioner National Security Michael Phelan said.
The plot targeted an Etihad Airways flight on July 15 but the bomb never made it past airport security, he said.
Australian police released on Aug. 6 a second man arrested during counter-terrorism raids, days after two others were charged with terrorism offences over the alleged plot.
The 39-year-old man, named by his lawyer as Khaled Merhi, was among the four arrested during raids across Sydney, which also led to tightened security at all major Australian airports.
“This investigation remains ongoing,” Australian Federal Police and New South Wales state police said in a statement.
“A 39-year-old man, detained in relation to allegations regarding a potential terrorist attack, has been charged with one count of possession of prohibited weapon and released from police custody.”