Thursday, February 22, 2018

PM: Israeli intelligence helped Australia stop airliner attack - Shlomo Cesana and Reuters and Israel Hayom Staff

by Shlomo Cesana and Reuters and Israel Hayom Staff 

July plot against passenger plane foiled thanks to information from Israeli intelligence, authorities reveal months after arrests made in Sydney

An Islamic State plot to down a passenger plane in Australia was foiled thanks to intelligence provided by Israel, authorities revealed Wednesday.

The IDF's elite Unit 8200, which decyphers signal intelligence, uncovered the plot and shared its finding with the Australian intelligence community in real time.

The plot presumably referred to an attempted bombing in July of an Etihad Airways flight due to leave Sydney for Abu Dhabi. The plot was foiled by Australian security forces before the plane took off.

An Australian man had sent his unsuspecting brother to Sydney Airport to catch the flight carrying a homemade bomb disguised as a meat-mincer, built at the direction of a senior Islamic State commander, Australian police said at the time, although they did not mention the Israeli tipoff.

According to Australian media, four men who were arrested in connection with the plot. The suspects also planned a chemical attack on Sydney's mass transport system.

According to a statement issued by the Israeli Defense Ministry on Wednesday, "uncovering the plot saved dozens of lives."

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the Israeli intelligence community for its contribution to preventing the attack, saying, "We revealed today that Israel's intelligence services prevented the downing of an Australian airliner and I can tell you that this is one of many, many such actions on our part that prevented terrorism around the world."

According to IDF officials, some 30 Islamic State attacks against Western targets have been foiled thanks to Israeli intelligence, potentially saving hundreds of lives.

The Military Censor's Office also revealed Wednesday that Unit 8200  managed to detect a planned Iranian cyberattack against the private and public sectors in Israel.

"This was thanks to constantly monitoring Iran's cyber efforts and the early detection of attempted attacks against Israel," the IDF said.

Shlomo Cesana and Reuters and Israel Hayom Staff


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