The weight limits that airlines place on luggage helped thwart a scheme to blow up a plane traveling from Australia to the United Arab Emirates last month, according to a Tuesday Daily Telegraph report.
Lebanese security services reportedly assisted in foiling the operators of the terrorist mission, which planned on detonating the explosives 20 minutes after takeoff while the plane was midair.
Nohad Machnouk, Lebanon’s interior minister, said that four Lebanese-Australian brothers conspired to put explosives inside a large Barbie doll and meat grinder.
While airline and airport employees did not immediately detect the explosives, one of the bags was not permitted on the plane.
“The operation was foiled because of the extra weight,” Machnouk said, according to The Daily Telegraph, with the baggage exceeding the limit by roughly 7 kg (around 15 lbs).
One of the co-conspirators, Amer Khayyat, was arrested in Lebanon. Khaled and Mahmoud Khayyat were arrested in Australia. Authorities say Tarek Khayyat, the fourth brother, is likely living in ISIS’ current capital of Raqqa in northern Syria. (RELATED: NY Airport Didn’t Have Access To ‘No Fly’ Terrorist List)
Amer traveled back and forth between Lebanon and Australia, alleging that his international transit was due to an engagement.
While reports say that intelligence sharing between Australia and Lebanon led to Lebanese authorities stymieing the plot, it is not yet precisely clear how that came about.
“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,” Machnouk said. “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.” (RELATED: America’s Security Problems Start With The TSA, But Certainly Don’t End There)
As far as motivation for the terrorists, Machnouk claims that Australia and U.A.E’s assistance in the U.S.-led offensive campaign against ISIS was a primary factor.
Media first reported on the terrorist plot at the end of July. But the details of the situation, including in what vessels the bombs were hidden and some reasons the operation was foiled, were not disclosed at the time.
The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to several potentially involved parties, including international government agencies, but none responded by time of publication.
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