Bombs intended to blow up an Etihad Airways plane leaving Sydney were allegedly set to explode over the Blue Mountains.
Bombs intended to blow up an Etihad Airways plane leaving Sydney were allegedly set to explode over the Blue Mountains.

20 minutes from deadly explosion

BOMBS intended to blow up a plane leaving Sydney were allegedly set to explode over the Blue Mountains, in what would have been Australia's most catastrophic terror attack.

Amer Khayat, one of three brothers accused of trying to plant bombs on an Etihad Airways flight out of Sydney last year, allegedly told Lebanese police the devices had been fitted with self-timers that would explode after 20 minutes.

By this point, the plane would have been just west of the Blue Mountains.

Lebanese police claimed he told authorities the bombs never made it onto the plane because Etihad said the doll, which weighed 3.5kg, was too heavy to be taken as hand-luggage.

The 40-year-old father-of-two has since retracted his confession, telling News Corp Australia from Central Prison in east Beirut that he is "not a terrorist" and "wants to go home".

The Roumieh facility is one of the world's most dangerous and holds suspected Islamic terrorists.

His case has been adjourned until July 30.

Amer Khayat, his three brothers and another Sydney relative allegedly planned to detonate bombs hidden in a Barbie doll and a meat grinder on a Dubai-bound Etihad flight on July 15 last year.

Hidden in hand luggage, the self-timed bomb inside the Barbie doll was allegedly set to detonate a second bomb inside a meat grinder, killing 400 passengers and crew somewhere over NSW.

It would have been Australia's most catastrophic terror attack, and the world's biggest airline disaster in three decades, outstripping the 239 victims who died on MH370 in 2014.

Amer Khayat is the only member of the alleged "Barbie bomb" plot in custody in Lebanon who will likely be hanged or face a firing squad, The Australian reported in March.

Authorities detained Amer Khayat last year after the Sydneysider and dual Australian-Lebanese citizen made several trips to the Lebanese city of Tripoli, where he was to be married at his family home.

But his multiple journeys and quick divorce prompted suspicions.

When authorities questioned him, Amer Khayat allegedly revealed that he had attempted to smuggle the two bombs aboard the flight.

The plot was allegedly made in Raqqa where relatives had been fighting for Islamic State.

A third brother Tareq, an ISIS commander, is understood to be hiding in Syria.

Khaled Khayat, pictured above, was arrested during terror raids across Sydney last July.
Khaled Khayat, pictured above, was arrested during terror raids across Sydney last July.

Beirut alerted Canberra and in raids across Sydney last July, Amer's brothers Khaled, 52, and Mahmoud, 32, were arrested and charged with two counts of allegedly planning a terrorist attack.

Israeli intelligence corps claimed its "exclusive intelligence" had helped thwart the alleged attack.

Australian police investigated the fifth alleged "Barbie" plotter, but found there was not enough evidence to charge him.

However, all five men are accused in Lebanon of participating in terrorist activities, being part of a terrorist group and scheming to commit mass murder.


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