Australia confirms Australian detained in Iraq

Australia’s government has confirmed that an Australian has been detained in Iraq after a media report that an Islamic State group commander suspected of masterminding a plot to blow up an airline flight from Sydney last year and an Australian relative were captured.

Australian Broadcasting Corp. cited anonymous Australian officials in reporting on Wednesday that Lebanese commander Tarek Khayat and his relative Ahmed Merhi have been detained in Iraq since earlier this year.

Australian police allege Merhi communicated with a homegrown Islamic State cell behind several Sydney plots, including the 2015 fatal shooting of a police accountant outside the state police headquarters.

Australian police also allege Khayat directed his Sydney-based brothers, Khaled and Mahmoud Khayat, to blow up an Etihad Airways flight from Sydney to Dubai July 15 last year.

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