Brothers Khaled (52) and Mahmoud (34) Khayat were sentenced to lengthy prison sentences after planning to hide a bomb in their unsuspecting gay brother’s luggage on an international flight.
The brothers schemed to blow up an Etihad Airways flight from Sydney, Australia, to Abu Dhabi in July 2017.
According to the Newcastle Herald, they built a gas bomb in one of the men’s garage using plans transmitted with an encrypted app by their older brother, Tarek, who is a senior member of ISIS.
They then hid the bomb inside a meat grinder which was placed in the luggage of their brother Amer, pretending it was a gift for family members. The court was told during the trial the attack was intended to support groups fighting the Syrian regime.
“Neither offender was particularly close to Amer, although each said he loved him as a brother and spoke to him when he saw him,” said Justice Christine Adamson on Tuesday.
“They disapproved of him because he drank, went clubbing, gambled and was gay which they regarded as bringing shame on the family.”
The plan was foiled when a Sydney Airport attendant noticed Amer’s luggage was overweight. Khaled removed the bomb for fear of being discovered.
The two brothers were found guilty in the NSW Supreme Court earlier this year of conspiring to prepare or plan a terrorist act.
Adamson noted that, had the scheme gone as planned, “no one in the aircraft carrying the bomb and no one exposed to the poisonous gas would have survived.”
”The scale of the intended impact adds significantly to the gravity of the offence,” she added.
Adamson sentenced Khaled to 40 years in prison and Mahmoud to 36 years with non-parole periods of 30 and 27 years respectively. The two men maintain they are innocent and plan to appeal their cases.
Meanwhile, Amer spent two years in a Lebanese prison before being found not guilty of involvement in the plot by a military court in September.
Tarek was found guilty in a Lebanese court and sentenced to hard labor for life for his participation in the plot.
Last week, Amer said that despite his ordeal he still loves his brothers because they are his “blood.”