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Lebanon court acquits one Australia bomb plot suspect - NNA

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BEIRUT (Reuters) – Lebanon’s military court acquitted one of four brothers accused of planning to blow up a flight from Sydney to Abu Dhabi nearly two years ago, state news agency NNA said on Thursday.

It said Amer Khayat would leave Lebanon’s Roumieh prison, where he has spent two years and two months, on Thursday night.

The military court also sentenced the three other Khayat brothers – Khaled, Mahmoud and Tareq – in absentia to hard labour for life, NNA said.

In 2017, Australian police charged Khaled and Mahmoud Khayat with planning a terrorist attack after disrupting what authorities deemed an Islamic State-inspired plot to bomb an Etihad Airways flight.

An Australian court in May found Khaled Khayat guilty of plotting to blow up the flight.

Lebanon’s then interior minister, Nohad Machnouk, said at the time that one of the brothers, Tareq Khayat, was an Islamic State commander in Syria. Khaled, Mahmoud and Amer were all living in Australia but occasionally visited Lebanon, he said.

He said Amer Khayat had arrived in Lebanon in July 2017, the day Australian police said the plotters tried to smuggle a bomb onto an Etihad flight from Sydney.

(Reporting by Ellen Francis; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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