Air travel in the United States and internationally has changed drastically over the years since the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Passengers in most airports are required to remove various articles of clothing, empty their bags, and in some cases, passengers are subjected to random screening. However, it is the anti-terrorist activities going on behind the scenes which we never hear about unless an attack is averted, which is what happened recently in Australia.
Yesterday Australian authorities arrested four men from Lebanon, who are associated with the Islamic State (ISIS), for planning a terrorist attack which was to take place on a commercial airliner. According to reports, the four terrorists were planning a gas attack using an improvised explosive device which would gas all the passengers, including the crew, causing it to crash. Thankfully, none of the terrorists made it to the airport.
On Saturday Australian authorities raided the terrorist cell, which was prompted by intelligence provided by a foreign intelligence service. All of the terrorists arrested are related and each has dual Australian and Lebanese citizenship. In addition, authorities have confirmed all four men arrested have proven ties to ISIS in Syria. It has not been reported if the Australian government plans on revoking the Australian citizenship of those arrested. Jonah Bennett from The Daily Caller reported on comments made by the Australian Federal Police Commissioner Andrew Colvin, “At this time, we don’t have a great deal of information on the specific attack, the location, date or time, however, we are investigating information indicating that the aviation industry was potentially a target of that attack.”
Australian authorities are not taking this attempted attack lightly and security has been increased significantly at all Australian airports. It is also likely that here in the United States the Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Safety Authority are going to change their security measures as well in light of these developments in Australia.
In the past, other terrorists such as Richard Reid, otherwise known as the “Shoe Bomber,” was stopped from detonating an explosive device he had hidden in his shoe while traveling from Paris to Miami. Passengers and flight crew were able to stop Reid, and he was subsequently arrested by the FBI in Boston. A lesser known terrorist by the name of Jose Padilla was arrested at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport for collaborating with 9/11 conspirator Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and for receiving training from Al-Qaeda. With both of these terrorists and the aforementioned Libyans arrested in Australia, they all received outside training from a terrorist organization based in the Middle East.
Neither the Trump Administration nor the Department of Homeland Security has commented specifically on this case in Australia, but back in March of this year, U.S. Officials announced that passengers on flights originating from specific Muslim-majority countries have been banned from bringing electronic devices on board which is larger than a cell phone. Since these enhanced security protocols were implemented back in March, not much else has been released by U.S. authorities to ensure the enemy is unaware of their standard operating procedures and how they are constantly evolving. Passengers who feel they might be affected by this new policy are encouraged to contact their airline and local airport authority for the most recent restrictions and allowances.
The Transportation Safety Authority, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Trump Administration have made it very clear their first and foremost priority is the safety of Americans as well as flights coming into the United States and those departing the United States. Domestic flights within the USA will still be subjected to the same stringent security measures we have grown accustomed to.
With this newly averted attack in Australia, it is imperative that all travelers stay vigilant and aware while flying. Terrorists with ISIS and Al-Qaeda have proven they are constantly looking for ways to circumvent security procedures and develop new methods of attack. These terrorist groups must be stopped and it must be made clear to them that in addition to U.S. and international authorities coming down hard on them, passengers as well will be sure to stop them if the need arises.
H/T [The Daily Caller]