Israeli prime minister’s office: “This was a terrorist incident directed by Iran against Israeli businesspeople living in Cyprus.”
An Iranian plot to kill Israeli businessmen in Cyprus has reportedly been foiled.
An attempt to target Israeli civilians in the Mediterranean Island failed last week after Cyprus authorities arrested an armed assassin, the office of the Israeli prime minister disclosed on Monday.
“This was a terrorist incident directed by Iran against Israeli businesspeople living in Cyprus,” a spokesman for the prime minister revealed. The Israeli officials said the terrorist strike aimed at people working in a building that housed Israeli business in the Cypriot capital Nicosia.
“Cypriot-based Greek language media reported that an Azeri national carrying a Russian passport was arrested with a gun and silencer in his possession,” the Israeli news website YnetNews reported today.
After the PM’s office said that Iran targeted an Israeli businessman in Cyprus, Defense Minister Gantz said that “Iran continues to be a global & regional challenge as well as to Israel. We will continue to protect our citizens everywhere and in the face of any threat "
— Anna Ahronheim (@AAhronheim) October 4, 2021
The initial media reports suggest that Israeli business magnate Teddy Sagi was the primary target of the assassination attempt. Still, Israeli officials have since revealed a wider terrorist plot to kill Cyprus-based Israeli businessmen.
The Times of Israeli reported the foiled Iranian plot:
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s office on Monday blamed “Iranian terror” for last week’s reported assassination attempt against Teddy Sagi in Cyprus, saying that the Israeli billionaire wasn’t targeted personally, and that the failed hit was not a criminal affair.
“Regarding some of the reports last night about the incident in Cyprus, I would like to clarify, on behalf of the security establishment, that this was an act of terror that was orchestrated by Iran against Israeli businesspeople living in Cyprus,” Bennett’s spokesman Matan Sidi said in a statement, implying there were other targets in addition to Sagi. He did not provide more details.
“This wasn’t a criminal incident, and businessman Teddy Sagi wasn’t the [specific] target of the attack,” he added.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz also alluded to the incident on Monday, and reiterated the claim that it was linked to Iranian terror.
“As was publicized recently, an Iranian attack against Israeli targets in Cyprus was foiled,” said Gantz during a Blue and White faction meeting in the Knesset. “Iran continues to be a global and regional threat, as well as a challenge to Israel, and we will continue to operate in order to protect our citizens and the State of Israel anywhere from any threat.”
The incident in Cyprus is the latest among a series of Iranian attempts to target Israeli diplomats and civilians worldwide. In February 2021, African security services arrested an Iranian terror cell scouting Israeli and U.S. embassies. In March 2021, Iran Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)-backed terrorists bombed the Israeli embassy in New Delhi, India.
The terrorist plots and attacks come amid repeated Iranian threats to “avenge” Israeli measures to disrupt its rogue nuclear weapons program and international terrorist operations. Tehran blames Israel for the January 2020 U.S. drone strike that killed Qassem Soleimani, the Iranian global terrorist network head. In November 2020, Israel’s Mossad helped the CIA eliminate Al Qaeda’s second-in-command, Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, who was hiding in Iran.
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