Son of alleged terror plotter had links to aviation industry

The son of a man allegedly involved in a Sydney terror plot to target a passenger plane studied aviation management, it has been reported.


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One of the sons of Khaled Khayat studied aviation management at the UNSW, according to Fairfax.

The man also reportedly mixed with a network of pilots and airline workers.

He has not been arrested, nor is he facing questioning.

Khaled Khayat, one of four men under investigation. Source: 7 News

It is understood Khaled Khayat’s brother is a senior IS figure. Two other men in custody over the alleged terror plot are related to Ahmed Merhi, who travelled to Syria in 2014 to fight for IS according to the ABC.

The Sydney cell was reportedly speaking to foreign fighters in Syria, and the communications were picked up by allied intelligence agencies.

It’s a disturbing suggestion as authorities try and piece together how the alleged terror cell planned on executing their attack following a vital tip-off from British intelligence, who alerted Australian law enforcement last Monday.

The four men were allegedly targeting an Etihad flight out of Sydney, according to News Corp.

They were immediately put under 24-hour surveillance.

Police and investigators searching properties. Source: 7 News

The men who are under investigation have been named as Mahmoud Khayat, Khaled Khayat, Khaled Merhi and Abdul Merhi.

Each man is entitled to be considered innocent. They may not be charged.

Police have seized airline documentation from a raided house as well as a meat grinder – allegedly to be used as part of bomb intended to disperse poisonous gas.

Neighbours expressed disbelief as new pictures emerged of the arrest of Mahmoud Khayat in Lakemba.

“For us it’s a good family,” one neighbour said. “Good person, good everything.”

Police are working hard to discover why intelligence out of the Middle East allegedly implicates Mahmoud Khayat in a conspiracy and are continuing to search his apartment complex thoroughly.

“Those search warrants will probably last a few days,” Federal Police Commissioner Andrew Colvin said.

“We have people who are being interviewed and no-one has yet been charged.”

Also being questioned in Khaled Merhi, seen bandaged and bleeding outside his Surry Hills terrace on Saturday night.

Police guard the passenger security check area at Sydney Airport. Source: Getty Images

“I can understand people are very hungry for details but because of the nature of this investigation, and the fact that it is ongoing, I’m just not in a position to confirm anything,” Justice Minister Michael Keenan said.

Standard items such as smart phones, an iPad, SIM cards and cars were seized at raided properties over the weekend.

At Lakemba, documentation for a Jakarta-to-Sydney flight route was found in the garbage.

Police also seized a note linked to the home raided in Surry Hills, where components of a meat grinder and “multi-mincer” were found.

Investigators are examining whether a mincer was to be potentially used as a bomb designed to disperse poisonous gas mid-flight.

“The security threat to our nation is as prevalent as it’s ever been,” Border Protection minister Peter Dutton said.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was alerted to the alleged plot on Wednesday by British intelligence and the following day security measures at Sydney Airport were fortified.

On Saturday, when circumstances favoured Joint Counter-Terrorism teams, they carried out their raids as security at all of Australia’s major airports was increased.


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