Two brothers linked to the Islamic State (IS) group were found guilty in Australia of plotting to bomb a flight using a concealed explosive.
According to a jury, Mahmoud Khayat, 34 years old, and his brother Khaled Khayat, 51 years old, tried to blow up a Sydney to Abu Dhabi flight in July 2017.
While both brothers filed not guilty plea, Mahmoud was found guilty of the bomb plot in Australia on Thursday, September 19 while Khaled was indicted of the same offence in May. Prosecutors claimed that they used a meat grinder to conceal military grade explosives to bring down the flight carrying 400 passengers but their plan failed when the bag carrying the bomb could not be checked in because it exceeded the weight limit.
The prosecutors added that after failing to bomb the plane, the brothers planned to execute a chemical gas attack in Sydney but they were arrested 11 days following the airport incident.
A third brother, Amer Khayat, transported the bag to Sydney Airport but was not a participant to the plan. The two brothers planted the bomb in the luggage without Amer’s knowledge according to investigators.
Lebanese news agency NNA reported that Amer got detained in a Lebanese prison since 2017 but was released on Thursday following the conviction of his brother. His lawyer, Jocelyne Al-Rai, said “It took time for the truth to be revealed, for his innocence to be revealed.”
During the trial in Australia, the prosecution panel revealed that the brothers received instructions from Tareq Khayat, another brother who is an IS militant who has since been imprisoned in Iraq. According to the police, the explosive materials for the bom were sent from Turkey as part of the a plan “inspired and directed” by IS.
Mahmoud and Khaled Khayat will be facing maximum sentences of life behind bars and will be sentenced at a later date.