Lebanese intelligence helped foil plot to blow up Emirati plane in Australia

Lebanon’s interior minister said Monday that the country’s police intelligence played a major role in foiling a plot to bring down an Emirati passenger plane that was supposed to take off from Sydney bound for the United Arab Emirates’ capital, Abu Dhabi.

Nouhad Machnouk told reporters that four Lebanese-Australian brothers, including one who is in detention in Lebanon, had planned to blow up the plane with bombs hidden inside a large Barbie doll and a meat grinder. He said the bombs did not make it onto the plane because the handbag they were placed in was 7 kilograms (15.4 pounds) above the weight permitted by the airline.

Machnouk said the bombs were sent back to the would-be attacker’s home in Australia. He said the attacker tried to bring two explosives on the plane in case one of them did not work. The second would be detonated by one of the brothers who was supposed to be the suicide attacker. It was not immediately clear how authorities uncovered the plot.

Australian authorities said late last month that they thwarted a credible terrorist plot to down an airplane by smuggling a device onboard. They have provided few details, including the precise nature of the threat or any airlines involved.