Two brothers in Sydney, Australia, have been handed lengthy prison sentences for their role in trying to place a bomb on an Etihad flight from Sydney to Abu Dhabi. They intended the bomb to detonate mid-flight.
They hid the bomb in a meat grinder, which they packed in the luggage of a third brother. The plot was hatched in callusion with a fourth, older brother, who fought for Islamic State in Syria. A seperate poison gas attack was also planned.
The court heard they chose the third brother to unwittingly carry the bomb because, “They disapproved of him because he drank, went clubbing, gambled and was gay which they regarded as bringing shame on the family.”
The plot unfolded on July 15, 2017. Khaled Khayat, 52, and Mahmoud Khayat, 34, hid the bomb in the meat grinder, which they place in the luggage of their gay brother.
However, once at the airport, they decided to abandon the plan when a baggage attendant told them the luggage was too heavy.
Fearing that the luggage might be inspected and the bomb discovered, Khaled removed it. The two brothers were later arrested.
Their older brother, an ISIS leader in Syria, had sent them the bomb components in Sydney, along with videos on how to assemble it. The court heard he is still in the Middle East and believed to be either dead or near death from lung cancer.
Today, at NSW Supreme Court, Justice Christine Adamson said, “If the plots had gone according to plan, no one in the aircraft carrying the bomb and no one exposed to the poisonous gas would have survived and no one would have had time to say goodbye.
“The scale of the intended impact adds significantly to the gravity of the offense.”
The judge said that although the plot had failed, they still managed to “create terror” among the public who heard of the plot.
“The conspiracy to which both offenders were parties plainly envisaged that a large number of people would be killed.”
They were found guilty earlier in the year of conspiring between January and July 2017 to prepare or plan a terrorist act.
Khaled Khayat was jailed for 40 years and Mahmoud Khayat for 36 years and must serve a minimum of 30 and 27 years respectively.
Their gay brother had previously been detained for two years in a Lebanese prison when authorities suspected he was knowingly involved in the plot. However, he was returned to Sydney in September when a military court ruled he was not involved and had been used by his brothers.