Death penalty for Etihad bomb suspect

October 11, 2018
Etihad bomb suspect death
Photo: Etihad.

A former Islamic State commander who allegedly conspired with his Sydney-based brothers to blow up an Etihad flight has been sentenced to death.

The ABC reported that Tarek Khayat was sentenced by Alrasafah Central Criminal Court in Baghdad over his role with the terrorist group in Iraq.

The Australian broadcaster said the 48-year-old Lebanese citizen was arrested in the Syrian city of Raqqa and has 10 days to appeal against his sentence of death by hanging.

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He was not charged over the Etihad plot but Australian Federal Police alleged last year he directed his brothers in Sydney to plant the bomb on an Etihad Airbus A380 flying between Sydney and Abu Dhabi in July, 2017.

Two of his brothers, Kahled and Mahmoud, are in custody in Australia awaiting trial on two charges each of planning or preparing to commit a terrorist act. They have pleaded not guilty and are due to face court next year.

Australian police alleged the brothers tried to get an improvised explosive device on the plane on July 15 by planting it in the luggage of an unwitting fourth brother, Amer.

The bomb was allegedly concealed in a kitchen meat mincer but the bag containing it was not checked in because Etihad staff told Amer his bags were overweight. He then flew out on the plane unaware of the plan, according to the AFP.

Police alleged the brothers then hatched a second plot to build  “a chemical dispersion device” using toxic hydrogen sulfide gas.

The ABC said Amer was arrested by Lebanese authorities 11 days after arriving and has been in custody while authorities attempt to determine his involvement in the alleged plot.

News Corp reported that Tarek Khayat claimed after his sentence was brought down that he was not involved in the Etihad plan.