Israel’s military intelligence foiled a plot by the Islamic State to blow up an airliner in Australia, Israeli media reports suggest. The military intelligence corps’ ‘Unit 8200’ provided critical intelligence in 2017 that led to the arrest of ISIS terrorists planning to bring down an Etihad Airways flight from Sydney to Abu Dhabi, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) revealed in a statement.
“The Israeli intelligence services thwarted the downing of an Australian plane, an unimaginable slaughter,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday.
According to the media reports, the plot was orchestrated by “a senior member of the Islamic State” based overseas. “This is one of the most sophisticated plots that has ever been attempted on Australian soil,” Australian police confirmed.
Israeli news website Ynet News reported the details of the counter-terrorism operation cleared for release by Israeli authorities:
Israel's Military Intelligence Directorate's (MID) Unit 8200 helped Australia thwart an attempt to bomb a commercial plane last year, the IDF cleared for publication on Wednesday.
"Unit 8200 provided exclusive intelligence that led to the thwarting of an airliner bombing by Islamic State (ISIS) at the end of 2017," an IDF statement said. "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." (...)
Police allege that one of the two men had been introduced to Islamic State by his brother, who they said was a senior member of the group in Syria.
Communication between the accused man and Islamic State began around April, police said. Under the instruction of the unidentified Islamic State commander, the men built a “fully functioning IED” (improvised explosive device).
“We are very grateful for the assistance that Israel provided in that matter and we still have a very close relationship with them,” Australia's Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said.
With Islamic State expanding its terrorist network in the West, Israel is working with Western countries to combat the surging Islamist threat. Israel has been sharing intelligence with other Western allies as part of the anti-terror campaign named “Gallant Phoenix”. The U.S. and several European countries are members of this global anti-terrorism alliance.
Since the formation of Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, around 40,000 Islamists have traveled to join the terror group. As U.S. President Donald Trump’s strategy of destroying the Islamic State’s operational base in the Middle East comes to a successful conclusion, thousands of foreign jihadis are fleeing back to Europe and other countries, posing a global security threat.
While Israeli intelligence services continue to save innocent lives across the globe through their heroic and gallant actions aimed at combatting Islamist terror, many Western governments jeopardize the safety of their citizens by allowing the Islamic State war criminals back into their countries.