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In Australia : Airport security loophole fears after plane plot

05 August, 2017, 00:14 | Author: Priscilla Morrison
  • Police direct locals around a block of flats in the Sydney suburb of Lakemba after counter-terrorism raids across the city. AFP

One of four men held in Australia over an alleged plot to blow up a plane has been released without charge, police said Wednesday, with his lawyer calling it "a tough few days".

Etihad Airways is cooperating with Australia's Federal Police service as they investigate a foiled plot to bring down an airliner, the airline said in a statement on Tuesday.

It is unclear when the close call occurred, although it was before police launched their investigation into the Sydney men last week.

USA officials, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said a foreign intelligence service had intercepted communications between the plotters in Sydney and members of the Islamic State militant group in Syria.

Aviation experts have also warned about loopholes, such as the use of private-sector security guards instead of government employees at airports, and no photo ID checks for passengers at domestic terminals.

"What you are seeing at the moment is making sure that there is extra vigilance, to make sure that we aren't cutting any corners in our security, to make sure that we are absolutely focused on our security", Mr Colvin said.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said while security will continue to be tight, travelers will not experience extensive delays.

"This investigation remains ongoing, and further information will be provided at an appropriate time".

Increased airport security measures introduced after the arrests have caused delays for some air transport operators.

Justice Minister Michael Keenan has said it was "quite a sophisticated plot".

"I think, in the coming days as this matter progresses, and in my opinion people will be charged and the facts are tendered, you will understand about the police operation more holistically".

"The threat to aviation from the plot that was uncovered to bring down a plane has been disrupted and contained", Mr Turnbull said. The offences are not related to the alleged plane bomb plot.

That came after communication was intercepted between members of the alleged Sydney terrorist cell and Islamic State operatives in Syria.

A major concern for the counter-terrorism authorities is that they only found out about it well after plans had been hatched to blow up the aircraft.


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