Khaled Khayyat, Lebanese-Australian convicted of planning terrorist attack on Etihad Airways flight
Source: Wikimedia

On Wednesday, an Australian court convicted Khaled Khayat, one of two Lebanese-Australian brothers charged with planning a terror attack on a flight from Sydney to Abu Dhabi.

In July 2017, the 51-year-old and his brother, Mahmoud, were both charged with plotting to blow up an Etihad flight carrying 400 passengers with military grade explosives concealed in a meat grinder. According to the BBC, police had also accused both men of planning a chemical gas attack in Sydney.

A jury in the New South Wales (NSW) Supreme Court had found Khaled Khayat guilty after two days of deliberations but failed to reach a verdict regarding his brother, leading to the jury's discharge. 

"Justice Christine Adamson today dismissed the jury from the Parramatta Supreme Court, meaning Mahmoud Khayat could face a re-trial at a later date," reported ABC on the discharged jury that was supposed to reach a verdict regarding Mahmoud. 

As for Khaled, he is set to be sentenced on July 26 with a possible maximum sentence of life in prison.

During his trial, the court heard Khayat "was motivated to support militant groups fighting the Syrian regime and to promote Islamic State." His lawyer, Richard Pontella, argued that the man had been trying to prevent a terrorist attack but the jury completely rejected these claims.

Earlier reports on the foiled plot revealed that Lebanon played a major role in preventing the attack. 

This came after Lebanese intelligence forces began monitoring three Khayat brothers when they learned that their fourth sibling, Tarek, was a senior ISIS member based in Raqaa, Syria.

Other than Khaled and Mahmoud, Amer, the third brother involved in the failed plan, was arrested upon arriving in Lebanon in mid-July 2017.

The brothers' plot involved a "high-end military grade explosive"

Investigations revealed that "an IS operative in Turkey sent a 'high-end military grade explosive' to the brothers in Australia" to help them create a bomb. After putting it together, the brothers hid the detonative device in a meat grinder. 

Though the accused built up the device, their plan failed and was uncovered before it was planted on the flight because the bag they used to carry the bomb proved to be too heavy to be checked in.