Australia ramps up airport security after alleged plane bomb plot

Author

01 August, 2017

Khaled Merhi, Abdul Merhi, Khaled Khayat and Mahmoud Khayat are being held in custody but are yet to be charged over the suspected bomb plot, as police continue to comb their Surrey Hills residence for evidence.

"There have been reports the device was a domestic meat mincer which would have been filled with explosives and detonated on board".

The Australia Federal Police said in a statement that four men were arrested in the operation.

Australian Federal Police Commissioner Andrew Colvin said the men arrested were allegedly linked to an Islamist-inspired plan to detonate an improvised explosive device.

Passengers flying out of Newcastle Airport are being told to get there 30 minutes earlier than usual due to increased security measures.

According to local media, they include a father and son and another pair who are also related.

National Terrorism Threat Advisory System.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten believes Australians are willing to wait a bit longer if it means keeping them safe.

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Speaking to Sky News, Justice Minister Keenan said that security would be tightened for the foreseeable future, causing delays for both domestic and global travellers, but they would ensure that Australia's "world-leading" security and intelligence agencies can keep people safe.

Mr Colvin urged the public to be patient because police did not yet "have all the pieces of the puzzle to put together".

At a time when "lone wolf" and low-tech terror attacks - such as vehicle-ramming and stabbings - have become more commonplace, especially in Europe, the thwarted plot sounds more akin to those of past years, when terrorists sought to carry out more high-profile attacks on aircraft, using bombs hidden in hand-luggage liquids, shoes or underwear.

What is the impact on travel?

"You can expect longer delays to make sure that more screening is being done on baggage", he said.

"Travellers should arrive at terminals at least two hours before flights to allow ample time screening", he said.

Despite a few delays during peak period on Monday morning, Sydney Airport has generally been operating smoothly despite the new measures.

Keenan said while he can't go into specific details about the investigation, Australia's security agencies were constantly working to ensure public safety.


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