Australian police release man arrested in plot to bomb plane

People crowd a terminal at Sydney's domestic airport as passengers are subjected to increased security, in Sydney, Australia, Monday, July 31, 2017. Security remains heightened in airports around Australia with more intense screening of luggage after law enforcement officials said they had thwarted a plan to bring down an airliner. (Dean Lewins/AAP Image via AP)

(ABC News) — A man arrested in connection with what Australian authorities say was a plot to bring down a plane was released from police custody on Sunday after being charged with a weapons offense.

Khaled Merhi, 39, who was arrested on July 29 along with three other men in raids across Sydney, was charged with possession of a prohibited weapon and granted bail, Australian Federal Police said in a statement. He was not charged with any terrorism-related offenses.

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Two of the men arrested alongside Merhi — 49-year-old Khaled Khayat and 32-year-old Mahmoud Khayat — were charged last week with two counts of planning a terrorist act. Police say they were involved in an aborted attempt to place an improvised explosive device on an Etihad Airways flight out of Sydney last month in a plot directed by the Islamic State group.

One other man arrested during the raids was released without charge last week.

Related: 1 of 4 suspected Sydney Islamic airline plotters released

Police say the plot involved a sophisticated attempt to get a device containing military-grade explosives on board an Etihad flight. Khaled Khayat has been accused of bringing the device to Sydney airport on July 15 in a piece of luggage that police say he asked his brother to take with him on the flight. For unknown reasons, the bag never got past the check-in counter. Police say Khayat’s brother had no idea the bag contained explosives.

Merhi is scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 24.