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From left: Khalid Khayyat, Mahmoud Khayyat and Amer Khayyat. Image Credit: Supplied

Beirut: Four Lebanese-Australian brothers were sentenced to prison in absentia by a Lebanese military court on Wednesday for plotting to bring down an Etihad plane that was taking off from Australia in 2017.

A Lebanese military court sentenced Mahmoud, Tarek and Khalid Khayyat to life in jail, and their brother Mohammad, to 15 years, for conspiring to bring down the plane which was flying from Sydney to Abu Dhabi.

Investigations revealed that the brothers had hid a crude bomb inside a meat grinder and a Barbie doll.

A fifth brother, Amer, was cleared by the same court.

A media statement issued by the Lebanon’s National News Agency said the Military Prosecution charged the 5 brothers with being members of a terrorist organisation [Daesh] and co-plotting to carry out a terrorist attack by smuggling explosive materials on board the UAE-bound flight.

Arrest warrants issued

Arrest warrants have been issued to have the brothers extradited.

Amer’s lawyer Joceline Adib Al-Rai told Gulf News the ruling remains subject to appeal before the Military Cassation Court.

“Regardless of whether the ruling gets appealed or not, my client is supposed to be released from his detention soon,” she said.

Sources close to the case, told Gulf News that Prosecutor General Judge Claude Ghanem asked the court to implement a life sentence against the Khayyat brothers.

Al-Rai said in court her client was not aware of the plot to bring down the plane and that law enforcement authorities did not submit any evidence that was solid enough to convict him.

Australian police said earlier that communications with Daesh began in April 2017, with the group sending the men components and propellants through international cargo from Turkey.

Khalid and Mahmoud are reportedly being held in Australia while Tarek was purported to be a member of Daesh based in the northern Syrian city of Raqqa.