Two brothers, Khaled Khayat and Mahmoud Khayat, were arrested in Sydney and charged with plotting to bring down an Etihad Airways passenger jet scheduled to fly to Abu Dhabi from Sydney in mid-July last year.
Sputnik discussed this with Dr. Ely Karmon, a Senior Research Scholar at The International Institute for Counter-Terrorism and Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Policy and Strategy at The Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel.
Sputnik: Could you tell us more about the Israeli unit that thwarted the attack and saved many lives?
Sputnik: How crucial is this unit, the 8200, in Israel's operations abroad? It sounds very important.
Ely Karmon: It's extremely important, because its main role several years ago was, actually, to prevent war, to give alerts in case of war [with] the main armies that surrounded Israel — the Egyptian Army, the Syrian Army, the Jordanian Army, or even the Iraqi or the Libyan Army — so this was the main role and it had to specialize in military intelligence. In the last 15-20 years and perhaps even before, terrorism, especially international terrorism, has become one of the main strategic threats, [so] it had to also follow targets that would, first of all, threaten directly Israel, but in the work they are doing from day to day, if they find information that threatens our allies, then it clearly uses this information to support [Israel-friendly] countries and institutions.
Sputnik: Prime Minister Netanyahu has also said that this is one of the many attacks that Israel has prevented in the past, were the attacks also thwarted by this specialist unit 8200 and if so, how?
Sputnik: This whole incident happened in July of last year, why is Netanyahu speaking about it just now?
Ely Karmon: I think first of all because this information is not endangering the source of this specific thwarted attack; this is an attempt sometimes to deter the terrorists. Also, the fact that ISIS disappeared from the radar as a big organization staged in Syria and now has small fractions around the world including Afghanistan, Libya, perhaps in the Sinai, so this gives us the idea that we must continue and cover, and discover, and thwart the attacks from all these international terrorist organizations.
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