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Islamic State

Israel spy team called ‘Unit 8200’ foiled IS plot to bring down passenger jet from Australia

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 February, 2018, 10:05am
UPDATED : Thursday, 22 February, 2018, 10:05am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that intelligence provided by his country foiled a plot by Islamic State to bring down a plane from Australia.

“The Israeli intelligence services thwarted the downing of an Australian plane, an unimaginable slaughter,” the Israeli leader told an American Jewish conference in Jerusalem Wednesday.

“This would have caused a major disruption in global air transport and this is only one of dozens of terrorist attacks we have foiled around the world,” Netanyahu said, later referring to the failed plot as an IS attempt.

The Israeli army said one of its intelligence units, named 8200, provided the information in 2017 leading to the arrest of IS militants who were working “toward the execution of the attack”.

The elite unit gathers and analyses intelligence using sophisticated information technology.

The Israeli military said thwarting the attack “saved the lives of dozens”.

The time and route of the flight were not revealed, however Israeli media said the army statement referred to an attempted bombing in July of an Etihad Airways flight due to leave Sydney for Abu Dhabi, which was foiled by Australian security forces before the plane took off.

Last year Australia arrested two men – Khaled Khayat and Mahmoud Khayat – and charged them with plotting to bring down the passenger jet.

They were accused of trying to smuggle an improvised explosive device disguised as a meat mincer onto a July 15 service, but the attempt was aborted before they reached security.

Australian police said the plot had been orchestrated by “a senior member of Islamic State” based overseas.

Etihad earlier this week confirmed it was working with authorities in Australia on their investigation.