The Emirates airlines completely denied on Monday reports that one of its airplanes coming from Australia to Abu Dhabi was the target of a terrorist plot early this month.
“Such news are completely false,” a statement issued by the company said on Monday.
Early in August, the United Arab Emirates national carrier Etihad Airway said it was assisting the Australian police with the investigation into an alleged Sydney-based conspiracy to bring down an aircraft.
“The Etihad Airways aviation security team is assisting the Australian Federal Police with its investigation and the matter is ongoing. Etihad is complying fully with the enhanced security measures at airports in Australia and monitoring the situation closely,” the airline said in a statement.
On Monday, Lebanon’s Interior Minister Nohad Mashnouq revealed that the country’s Internal Security Forces played a role in foiling a terrorist attack to blow up an Emirati plane coming from Australia to Abu Dhabi with 400 passengers on board, including 120 Lebanese.
During a press conference held in Beirut, the interior minister said that the Information Department at the ISF has foiled an operation that was intended to take place aboard an Emirate plane coming from Australia to Abu Dhabi, adding that the executers were Lebanese from the north.
“The suicide bomber is a Lebanese from the north. His name is Tareq Khayat. They are four brothers with a revengeful motive; one of them had moved to Raqqa in Syria and joined ISIS. The Information Department had been after him," Mashnouq said.
According to the minister, the terrorists planned that the plane would explode 20 minutes after the takeoff, but the operation was held up due to a luggage issue.
"There were 120 Lebanese and 280 passengers from different nationalities aboard that plane. It was a message for the UAE," he said.