Man guilty of trying to blow up Etihad flight with bomb hidden in meat grinder, Australian court rules

A man faces life in prison after an Australian court convicted him Wednesday of plotting to blow up a flight out of Sydney on behalf of the Islamic State using a bomb hidden inside a meat grinder.

Police said Khaled Khayat, 51, conspired with his brother Mahmoud Khayat, 34, to bring down an Etihad flight carrying 400 passengers from Sydney to Abu Dhabi on July 15, 2017, by hiding military grade explosives in another brother’s luggage.

The terror plot was foiled when the third brother, unaware that he was carrying a bomb disguised as a meat grinder, tried to check in the luggage at Sydney airport but it was too heavy, Reuters reported.

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The device was taken out of his luggage when it was deemed too heavy and the bomb never made it past security.

The flight landed without incident and the brothers were arrested weeks later after a series of raids in Sydney.

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Khaled Khayat, who had pleaded not guilty, and his brother were also accused of planning a chemical gas attack in Sydney.

“The jury this afternoon returned a guilty verdict for Khaled and is still deliberating in respect of Mahmoud,” a spokesperson with the New South Wales Supreme Court told Reuters.

Khaled Khayat is to be sentenced on July 16 and faces a possible maximum of life in prison.

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Australia has a five-level terror threat ranking system and “probable” is its midpoint. The threat likelihood has been set at probable since the system was introduced in 2015.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.