Canberra plans to draft regulations recognising Beirut as an “extradition country” to facilitate a response to any extradition request, said Australia’s Justice Minister Chris Ellison on Monday.
Lebanese authorities have issued warrants for the arrest of Sydney man Bilal Khazal and his brother Mahar over a bombing in Beirut.
The former Qantas baggage handler is alleged to have sent money to fund a bomb attack on a McDonald’s branch in Beirut last April which injured four people.
Khazal previously denied any hand in “terrorism”. Neither he nor his brother have been detained or charged with any crime in Australia.
Canberra had previously cited the lack of an agreement between Australia and Lebanon as a barrier to extraditing the two men.
“Once the regulations are made, Lebanon may make a formal extradition request for the Khazal brothers,” said Ellison. “If a request is received, Australia will follow the procedures set out in the extradition act to determine whether the Khazal brothers should be surrendered to Lebanon.”
No formal request had yet been received from Beirut for the two men, said Ellison.
Australian police confirmed that Khazal is under investigation along with more than 60 so-called “terror” suspects. Spanish authorities have accused him as a key contact for the alleged leader of an al-Qaida cell in Madrid, Abu Dahdah.
In June it was revealed the CIA compiled a report alleging Khazal was at one time an al-Qaida operative who had planned attacks on US interests in Venezuela and the Philippines.
Australia’s Foreign Minister Alexander Downer has said Canberra would continue to share intelligence and cooperate with Beirut on Khazal.