ISIS-Inspired Terrorist Tried to Blow up Plane With Bomb: Court

By Zachary Stieber

A terrorist inspired by ISIS, the radical Islamist group, was found guilty of trying to blow up a plane just days after the terror group’s leader emerged for the first time in five years.

Khaled Khayat was convicted of planning to plant a bomb on a plane departing from Abu Dhabi to Sydney, Australia in 2017.

The plan fell through when the carry-on bag containing the bomb proved too heavy to be checked in. The man carrying the bag, Amer Khayyat, was Khaled’s brother, the BBC reported in 2017. Amer continued onto Lebanon after failing to take the bomb onto the plane.

Two weeks later, police found bomb parts in Khayat’s garage, reported news.com.au. Investigators said that Khayat and his brother Mahmoud Khayat plotted the attack.

Both pleaded not guilty to a terror conspiracy charge but a jury found Khaled Khayat guilty. His supporters gasped after the verdict was read, reported the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

The jury has still not reached a verdict on his brother and was sent back to continue its deliberations.

Khaled Khayat will be sentenced on July 26 and faces up to life in prison.

Authorities said the brothers were inspired by ISIS and that a fourth brother, Tarek, was a senior member of the terror group. Components for the bomb were sent by plane to the men in Australia from ISIS members, Australian Federal Police deputy commissioner Michael Phelan said in August 2017, reported the BBC.

Australian Federal Police Deputy Commissioner National Security Michael Phelan, right, and NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Investigations and Counter-Terrorism David Hudson, speak to reporters during a press conference in Sydney, Australia on Aug. 4, 2017. (Don Arnold/Getty Images)

He called the plan “one of the most sophisticated plots that has ever been attempted on Australian soil.”

Federal police commissioner Andrew Colvin told reporters around the same time that “We do believe it is Islamic-inspired terrorism.”

The conviction came as ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was seen for the first time in five years in video footage that circulated online after being published by the group’s propaganda agency. The exact date of the video was unclear.

Al-Baghdadi took over ISIS in 2010 following the assassination of Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, who had led the terrorist organization.

isis islamic state terrorist militants
An ISIS flag is taken down from an electricity pole on March 3, 2016. (Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP/Getty Images)

It also came just two days after American officials announced that a man was arrested after allegedly plotting to detonate a bomb.

Mark Steven Domingo of Reseda, California, was arrested on April 26 after he received what he thought was a live bomb, the Department of Justice said.

The bomb was actually an inert explosive device delivered by an undercover law enforcement officer.

Domingo was a former U.S. Army infantryman with combat experience in Afghanistan who had converted to Islam and expressed support for jihad, or killing innocent non-Muslims.

“In online posts and in conversations with an FBI source, Domingo expressed support for violent jihad, a desire to seek retribution for attacks against Muslims, and a willingness to become a martyr, according to the affidavit. After considering various attacks—including targeting Jews, churches, and police officers—Domingo decided to detonate an IED at a rally scheduled to take place in Long Beach this past weekend,” the department stated.

Mark Domingo in a mugshot. (FBI)

“As part of the plot, Domingo asked his confederate—who actually was cooperating with the FBI as part of the investigation—to find a bomb-maker, and Domingo last week purchased several hundred nails to be used as shrapnel inside the IED,” it added.

According to a criminal complaint, Domingo posted online on March 2 professing his Muslim faith and the next day posted that “America needs another vegas event,” referring to the mass shooting in Las Vegas in 2017, that would give “them a taste of the terror they gladly spread all over the world.”

After several mosques were attacked in New Zealand in March, Domingo posted: “There must be retribution.”

In response to the postings, an FBI informant began speaking to Domingo and then meeting with him in person. Domingo expressed his desire to use a bomb and a modified rifle to carry out an attack, allegedly expressing support for ISIS and saying “if ISIS ‘came here,’ he would swear allegiance to ISIS,” according to the complaint.

Domingo was ultimately given the fake bomb and arrested.