Tel Aviv has accused Tehran of plotting to kill Israelis on the island of Cyprus, after the arrest of a person suspected of being hired to carry out the killings.
The office of Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said, “It is a terrorist operation planned by Iran to target Israeli businessmen,” denying media reports that said the operation was intended for the Israeli billionaire Teddy Sagi.
For its part, the Iranian embassy in Cyprus said that Israel’s accusations were unfounded.
According to media reports, the 38-year-old man who was arrested in Nicosia, the capital of the Greek side of the island, after crossing the border from the northern Turkish part, holds a Russian passport and is of Azerbaijani origin.
Israeli and Cypriot media reports said that Sagi was one of the targets, but the Israeli Prime Minister’s office denied this, and the Sagi group of companies also denied that the billionaire, who owns online gambling companies, was targeted.
The group said in a statement, “This is an Iranian terrorist operation that was thwarted, and the target was not Teddy Sagi, but the Israelis in Cyprus… Unfortunately, it is easy to spread the wrong news and harm the name of a person.”
Before that, Israel accused Iran and its ally Hezbollah of targeting or planning to target Israelis abroad.
In 2012, Cyprus condemned an element of the Iranian-backed Lebanese Hezbollah of plotting to target Israelis on the island, and in the same year, Sofia and Tel Aviv accused the Lebanese militia of carrying out a suicide attack on Bulgarian soil in which five Israelis and a Bulgarian were killed.
In March 2019, the Cypriot authorities arrested an Iranian agent at Larnaca Airport in Cyprus upon his arrival to the island from Lebanon.
Last year, the Cypriot police destroyed a stockpile of eight tons of ammonium nitrate seized in 2015, after discovering that it had been stored in the country for four years and was in the possession of a Lebanese citizen linked to Hezbollah.
Cyprus is a favorite destination for Israeli businessmen, especially those related to security exports in the field of cyber wars due to its geographical proximity to Israel, in addition to the advantage of enjoying the tax facilities provided by Nicosia. The island frequently witnesses the conclusion of deals between Israelis and citizens of countries with which Tel Aviv does not have official diplomatic relations.
Source » theportal-center