Australian jury convicts man in Etihad flight bomb plot

The bomb, which had been hidden in a carry-on suitcase, was discovered because the luggage was too heavy. (File/AFP)
Updated 02 May 2019

Australian jury convicts man in Etihad flight bomb plot

  • The convicted man planted the bomb in his brother's hand luggage
  • He faces a maximum term of life in jail when he is sentenced

SYDNEY: An Australian jury on Wednesday convicted a man of plotting to blow up an Etihad Airways airliner on a flight from Sydney to the United Arab Emirates with a bomb hidden in a meat grinder.
Khaled Khayat, 51, had pleaded not guilty in the New South Wales state Supreme Court to conspiring in early 2017 to plan a terrorist act. The jury convicted him but will continue deliberating on Thursday on whether his brother Mahmoud Khayat, 34, is guilty of the same charge.
The plan involved detonating the bomb concealed in a meat grinder on a flight from Sydney on July 15, 2017, to the United Arab Emirates capital Abu Dhabi, but it was abandoned when a bag with the bomb inside was too heavy to be taken aboard as carry-on luggage.
The flight landed without incident and the brothers were arrested two weeks later.
Khayat is to be sentenced on July 16 and faces a possible maximum sentence of life in prison.


Pope Francis begins visit to Thailand as faithful jostle for selfies

Updated 20 November 2019

Pope Francis begins visit to Thailand as faithful jostle for selfies

  • Catholics are a tiny minority in mostly Buddhist Thailand, accounting for less than 2 percent of the population
  • Among those welcoming him was his cousin and childhood friend from Argentina, 77-year-old nun Sister Ana Rosa Sivori
BANGKOK: Pope Francis arrived in Thailand on Wednesday to meet with its small but devoted Catholic minority on a seven-day Asian trip that will include a family reunion in Bangkok and take his anti-nuclear message to Japan.
Waiting for a glimpse of the pontiff, excited Catholics thronged around the Vatican’s Bangkok embassy and St. Louis Hospital to take selfies.
“Once in a lifetime, I want to see him and be able receive prayer from him,” said 60-year-old Orawan Thongjamroon outside the Vatican embassy, where she had been waiting since early morning for the papal motorcade.
Catholics are a tiny minority in mostly Buddhist Thailand, accounting for less than 2 percent of the population.
The pope’s plane touched down outside Bangkok around midday and he descended to a red-carpet airport welcome from church leaders for a visit that coincides with the 350th anniversary of the first papal mission in Siam, the former name of Thailand.
Among those welcoming him was his cousin and childhood friend from Argentina, 77-year-old nun Sister Ana Rosa Sivori, who has worked in Thai schools for more than 50 years and will be the pope’s personal translator in Thailand.
The pair, whose grandfathers were brothers, beamed as they made their way over the tarmac through crowds of clergy, children and government officials to a waiting motorcade.
“Dear friends in Thailand and Japan, before we meet, let us pray together that these days may be rich in grace and joy,” read a message on the pontiff’s official Twitter account before he left the Vatican.
At Bangkok’s St. Louis Church, a Thai Catholic woman proudly showed photographs of her and Pope Francis from a visit she made to the Vatican with her husband.
“I never thought that I would have another chance to see him again,” said Nuchnaree Praresri, 49.
But when she was invited to be a cleaner at St. Louis Church for the papal visit, she seized the opportunity.
“This might not be an important role for others, but I’m very proud,” she said.
Catholicism first arrived in Thailand in the mid-1500s with Portuguese missionaries and traders, and Catholics have over the years built respected schools and hospitals.
Pope Francis begins his official program on Thursday when he is scheduled to meet King Maha Vajiralongkorn as well as the supreme Buddhist patriarch before offering mass at the National Stadium.
He will hold another mass at Bangkok’s Assumption Cathedral before leaving on Saturday for Japan, where he will visit the nuclear ground zeros of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.