The IDF’s intelligence exposed and thwarted ISIS terror plots to bomb an airliner flying out of Australia and to release poisonous gas in public.
By: World Israel News Staff
An elite IDF intelligence unit was successful in exposing and thwarting an Islamic State (ISIS) terror plot to bomb an airliner flying out of Australia at the end of 2017.
According to an army announcement on Wednesday, the IDF’s famed 8200 cyber unit uncovered the plot and then relayed the information to Israel’s intelligence community, which shared it with local Australian enforcement agencies.
Acting on the information, Australia’s security agencies made arrests. The plot was reportedly in the advanced stages of planning and on the verge of execution.
“The thwarting of the terror plot saved dozens of innocent lives and demonstrated that the 8200 unit is a player in the intelligence battle against the Islamic State,” an IDF statement said.
Facing Iran’s cyber attacks
The IDF further exposed that the 8200 unit thwarted an Iranian attempt to execute a cyberattack on Israeli public and private organizations. The foiling of the attempt was enabled by the unit’s close monitoring of Iran’s offensive cyber activities and early detection of attack attempts on Israel.
Unit 8200 is an IDF Intelligence Corps unit responsible for the collecting of signal intelligence (SIGINT) and code decryption. The unit is expert in providing a real-time intelligence situation report to all of Israel’s various intelligence bodies.
Addressing the Conference of Major American Jewish Organizations Mission to Israel in Jerusalem on Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked Israel’s intelligence forces.
“We revealed today that Israel’s intelligence services prevented the shooting down of an Australian airliner, and I can tell you that this is one of many, many such actions that we did preventing terrorism around the world,” Netanyahu shared.
“They deserve all your support, not only for protecting the people of Israel, but protecting people everywhere around the world,” he added.
A bomb on a plane, toxic gas in public
According to Times of Israel, Australian security forces in August arrested two men suspected of trying to place an improvised explosive device (IED) on an Abu Dhabi Etihad Airways flight out of Sydney, in a plot directed by ISIS.
One of the men, a 49-year-old from Sydney, brought the device to Sydney airport on July 15 in a piece of luggage that he had asked his brother to take with him on the flight without him that the bag contained explosives, Australian Federal Police Deputy Commissioner Michael Phelan revealed at the time.
The bag never made it on board. Instead, Phelan said, the would-be terrorist left the airport with the IED, and his brother continued onto the flight without it.
“This is one of the most sophisticated plots that has ever been attempted on Australian soil,” Phelan told reporters at the time. “If it hadn’t been for the great work of our intelligence agencies and law enforcement over a very quick period of time, then we could well have a catastrophic event in this country.”
The components of the bomb they planned to use, including “military-grade explosive,” were sent by a senior ISIS member to the men in Sydney via air cargo from Turkey. An ISIS commander then instructed the two men how to assemble the device, which police later recovered.
According to Australian authorities, when that attack failed, the terrorist then planned to release highly toxic hydrogen sulfide gas in order to poison people. They were arrested before their plot could advance.
Australian police had no idea the plans were in motion until they received the tip from Israel on July 26. They arrested the men on July 29.
The plot was the 13th significant threat disrupted by police since Australia’s terrorist threat level was elevated in 2014, according to Justice Minister Michael Keenan. Five plots have been executed.
Since Australia’s terrorist threat level was raised in 2014, more than 70 suspects have been charged in over 30 police operations.