Australian airports will resume normal service with the aviation terrorism threat 'contained'

by Abel Hampton August 5, 2017, 0:18
Australian airports will resume normal service with the aviation terrorism threat 'contained'

The lawyer for a man arrested over an alleged plot to attack a plane - then released without charge - has said he wants to know why police arrested his client, adding that it had "caused a lot of damage to him".

It is unclear when the close call occurred, although it was before police launched their investigation into the Sydney men last week.

Police moved swiftly and raided five properties across Sydney in Surry Hills, Wiley Park, Punchbowl and Lakemba on Saturday evening.

Unidentified officials told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation the suspects - reportedly Lebanese-Australian - might have links to the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria.

Aviation experts have also warned about loopholes, such as the use of private-sector security guards instead of government employees at airports, and no photo ID checks for passengers at domestic terminals.

"It's a very serious allegation to have against you", Mr Kheir said.

Etihad operates direct flights to four Australian cities: Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. "And I should expect charges to be laid in due course", Turnbull said.

"This investigation remains ongoing, and further information will be provided at an appropriate time", a joint statement from the AFP and NSW Police said on Wednesday.

Police have not identified the airline that was allegedly targeted in the plot, nor the specific means that were to be used to bring it down, other than to say it involved an "improvised device".

The country's two biggest domestic airlines, Qantas Airways and Virgin Australia, did not immediately respond to questions concerning the changed threat level.

Officials have refused to comment on media reports that the plot was to hide explosives or chemicals that would emit toxic gas inside a piece of kitchen equipment.

He told reporters in Perth that the times passengers had been advised to arrive at airports would return to normal after being extended following the alleged plot which "has been disrupted and it has been contained".

A major concern for the counter-terrorism authorities is that they only found out about it well after plans had been hatched to blow up the aircraft.

Etihad Airways has confirmed it was helping Australian authorities with the investigation, amid reports the arrests were made after a tip-off from foreign intelligence services.

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