Fairfax Media has claimed that the men detained in raids by the Australian Federal Police in Sydney last weekend had planned to smuggle an improvised explosive device on to an Etihad flight departing Sydney for Abu Dhabi – and that the improvised device was contained in baggage that made it all the way to check-in, but was never loaded on the flight.
Fairfax Media understands an improvised device reached Sydney Airport’s international terminal after a passenger packed it inside a piece of luggage.
The passenger was queried about the weight of the luggage at the check-in counter and learnt it was too heavy. The bag was never checked in or carried on the plane.
Australian Federal Police Deputy Commissioner Michael Phelan said yesterday that the device had been built under instructions from Islamic State in April, and was to be placed on the Etihad flight out of Sydney on July 15.
Etihad Airways is assisting the police inquiry.
Prime Minister Turnbull confirmed yesterday that charges would be laid given the “very substantial evidence”.
IMAGE: via Fairfax Media/Michele Mossop