Sydney plane plotters who planted bomb on estranged brother jailed for 76 years

The brothers were planning to blow up an Etihad flight from Sydney to Abu Dhabi and then carry out a poison gas attack

Two Sydney brothers who constructed a bomb hidden in a meat grinder and tried to plant it on a packed Etihad A380 aircraft in their unwitting younger brother’s luggage have been jailed for 40 and 36 years.

Khaled Khayat, 52, and Mahmoud Khayat, 34, were found guilty earlier this year of conspiring to prepare a terrorist act.

The plot — which included their older brother Tarek Khayat who was fighting with Islamic State in Syria — involved blowing up the A380 aircraft, carrying up to 400 passengers. The bomb was primed to explode 20 minutes after the flight departed Sydney on the night of July15, 2017.

The brothers then planned to carry out a lethal poisonous gas attack in Australia.

The plotters were also prepared to kill their unwitting younger brother, Amer Khayat, whom they asked to carry what he was told were gifts for the family’s Lebanese relatives on the flight from Sydney to Abu Dhabi.

But the plan was abandoned by the older brothers when Amer Khayat was asked to repack his luggage at Sydney Airport because it was over weight. One of the brothers then removed the bomb and left the airport with the device.

Two weeks later the Australian federal police, after receiving information from Lebanon’s internal security force about the failed plot, raided five properties across Sydney.

In the months leading up to the attack, components of the explosive had been posted from Turkey to Australia.

A Syria-based controller used an encrypted mobile phone app to send instructions and videos on how to assemble the bomb, which was put together in July 2017 in one of the men’s Sydney garage.

In the New South Wales Supreme Court on Tuesday, Justice Christine Adamson jailed Khaled Khayat for 40 years and Mahmoud Khayat for 36 years, with non-parole periods of 30 and 27 years respectively.

That no one suffered physical injury or was killed does not make it other than extremely serious, the judge said.

The conspiracy plainly envisaged that a large number of people would have been killed … no one would have survived … no one would have had time to say goodbye.

The brothers, who maintain their innocence, had migrated to Australia, settled here, had families and appeared to have integrated into the community.

Neither attended a mosque regularly but both prayed five times a day and had apparently sympathised with Isis through their religion and because of the deaths of relatives fighting in Syria.

The judge found that they themselves were not prepared to be martyrs but were prepared to sacrifice their brother.

Amer Khayat, who had been estranged from his brothers, spent two and a half years in a notorious Beirut prison after he was arrested by the Lebanese authorities on suspicion of being part of the plot.

He was later cleared of any involvement.

Last week he said he still loved his brothers even though they had tried to set him up because they are his blood and he blew kisses to them at their sentencing hearing.

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