IDF intelligence unit foiled ISIS terror attack in Australia last year

Cleared for publication: IDF Unit 8200 help thwart attempted ISIS terror attack on Etihad flight from Sydney last summer; Netanyahu: I think that Israeli intelligence must be thanked for protecting not only Israelis but many civilians around the world.

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The IDF’s Military Intelligence Unit, Unit 8200, helped in thwarting an attempted ISIS terror attack on a commercial flight from Sydney to Abu Dhabi in July of last year.

The terror attack was planned for an Etihad Airways flight from Sydney, reports of the events only cleared for publication Wednesday.

Islamic State terrorists were planning to board a flight from Sydney to Abu Dhabi with an explosive device. They were also planning an attack using hydrogen sulfide gas. The terrorists were sent materials to build the bomb from Turkey, and had been recruited into ISIS through one of the terrorists’ brothers who was trained in Syria.

Four arrests were made at the time, Australia charging Khaled and Mahmoud Khayat, brothers, with two charges of terrorism.

The IDF confirmed its contribution to preventing the attack, stating on Wednesday “The thwarting of the attack led to the saving of the lives of dozens of innocent people and demonstrated that Unit 8200 is a player in the intelligence war against the Islamic State.”

It confirmed the reports that it “provided exclusive intelligence that led to the thwarting of an airliner bombing by Islamic State at the end of 2017,” adding that “The cooperation with the Israeli intelligence community allowed for the transfer of information to the local security authorities and led to the arrest of the suspects, who were in the advanced stages of preparations and close to executing the attack. The foiling of the attack led to saving dozens of innocent lives and demonstrates that Unit 8200 is a player in the intelligence battle against Islamic State.”

The IDF also confirmed that it recently thwarted an attempted Iranian cyber attack on organizations within Israel. Few details were given, just that Unit 8200 worked in cooperation with the Cyber Defense Division in the Computer Service Directorate, through “monitoring of the Iranian apparatus and early identification of offensive attempts in Israel.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu confirmed the reports on Wednesday while speaking to American Jewish community leaders. He stated “The Israeli intelligence services thwarted the downing of an Australian plane, an unimaginable slaughter. This would have caused a major disruption in global air transport and this is only one of dozens of terrorist attacks we have foiled around the world. I think that Israeli intelligence must be thanked for protecting not only Israelis but many civilians around the world.”

Amir addressed these events during his Middle East Current Events Update yesterday. You can watch the update here.

Photo: Etihad airways, Wikimedia Commons, 2017