Etihad Airways 'assisting' Australia with plane probe — BBCI

Paterniano Del Favero
Agosto 2, 2017

The lawyer for a man arrested over an alleged plot to attack a plane - then released without charge - has said he wants to know why police arrested his client, adding that it had "caused a lot of damage to him".

A 50-year-old man was released by police on Tuesday, but three men remain in custody.

Etihad Airways said on Tuesday it was helping Australian Federal Police with an investigation that police began into an "Islamic-inspired" plot to bring down a plane.

Mr Merhi's family was also in shock and his life had been "turned upside down", Mr Kheir said.

"It's just unfathomable that he would be associated with anything like this".

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told reporters he would not draw any conclusions beyond one man's release.

"It's a very serious allegation to have against you", he said.

The men can be held for seven days without charge after a magistrate on Sunday granted police special powers. 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.

At a Parliamentary inquiry into Australian border security, the newly-founded Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) said there remains an "unprecedented risk" to national security.

The name of the airline that was allegedly targeted has not yet been confirmed.

"Etihad is complying fully with the enhanced security measures at airports in Australia and monitoring the situation closely", the airline said, without giving further details.

Etihad operates direct flights to four Australian cities: Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. "They can facilitate the importation of illicit goods into Australia".

"While there is no direct impact on Etihad Airways' operations, guests travelling from Australia are advised to arrive at the airport early and expect a longer process than usual", it said.

Dubai-based Emirates, the largest Mideast carrier, said it was cooperating on the additional security procedures but did not say whether it is involved in the investigation.

"They are a key link to the global illicit economy".

Officials have refused to comment on media reports that the plot was to hide explosives or chemicals that would emit toxic gas inside a piece of kitchen equipment.

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