The Israeli army said one of its intelligence units, named "8200", provided the information previous year, leading to the arrest of IS militants who were working "towards the execution of the attack". The Israeli military said thwarting the alleged attack "saved the lives of dozens" but did not say which flight had been targeted. The foiling of the attempt was enabled by the unit's close monitoring of Iran's offensive cyber activities and early detection of attack attempts on Israel.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed overnight reports that the country's Unit 8200, attached to the Israeli Intelligence Corps, provided "exclusive intelligence" that thwarted the attack.
While much of its work is kept under wraps, Unit 8200 collects and processes signals intelligence, or SIGINT, making it akin to the U.S. National Security Agency.
Australian intelligence officials received a foreign intelligence tip-off on July 26, and only then learned of the alleged meat grinder plot which prompted them to raid five properties across Sydney and arrest four men on July 29.
Unit 8200, the Israeli military's NSA equivalent, has provided intelligence that led to the prevention of a planned attack by the Islamic State organization (ISIS) on a passenger plane in Australia in 2017, the Israeli military announced Wednesday.
"We revealed today that Israel's intelligence services prevented the shooting down of an Australian airliner, and I can tell you that this is one of many, many such actions that we did preventing terrorism around the world", Netanyahu shared. "Kol Hakavod to the Israeli intelligence system that not only protects Israeli citizens, but protects citizens of other countries around the world".
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The bag never made it on board.
"This is one of the most sophisticated plots that has ever been attempted on Australian soil", Phelan told reporters at the time.
An Islamic State operative sent components from Turkey through air cargo to the men in Sydney and instructed them on how to assemble a "high-end military-grade explosive".
Khaled Khayat (left) was arrested in Sydney over the terrorist plot.