A Cypriot judge on November 1 extended the detention of a 38-year-old Azeri, arrested in Nicosia September 27, allegedly involved in a terror plot against Israeli businessmen.
This was the fifth consecutive eight-day detention order without charges being made. Based on information collected by Iran International it is clear that the Cypriot police is conducting a possible terror investigation.
Police said they found a pistol, an Xtouch Technology Sub Compac 9mm, which had been hidden by a 27-year-old Pakistani, one of six people held in what Israel has alleged is an Iranian plot against Israeli businessmen. The others are Pakistanis aged 27, 22 and 32, and a 21-year-old Lebanese, who was arrested on October 28.
A total of 11 charges are being investigated against the 38-year-old Azeri, who is a permanent resident of Moscow, originally from Azerbaijan, who holds a Russian passport.
The 27-year-old Pakistani was connected to the Azeri main suspect through telephone records. The police have found three pistols, the first, a potentially lethal ‘click-gas weapon,’ in the possession of the Azeri when arrested September 27 in the parking lot of a Nicosia swimming pool.
Fanis Makrides, journalist at Politis newspaper in Cyprus, told Iran International on Wednesday that Greek Cypriot police and security officials involved in the case had confirmed to him that they suspected “terrorism.”
“What we know…[from what is] officially being said by the Prime Minister's office in Israel [is] that the 38-year-old Azeri is connected to a plan by Iran, in which the Azeri wanted to harm Israel in Greek Cypriot territory,” Makrides said.
The spokesman for Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett on October 4 said the arrests followed a “terrorist incident directed by Iran against Israeli businesspeople living in Cyprus.” The Iranian embassy in Cyprus told Reuters the Israeli “regime is always making such a baseless allegation [sic].”
“When it comes to the third pistol that was found, [this] means that now we have something really organized,” Makrides told Iran International. “These people were moving around in all cities of the Greek part of Cyprus, such as Nicosia, Limassol and Paphos and they were in touch with each other. So, they were preparing something big.”
Makrides described Cyprus as a “mediator” between Israel and Iran, which meant the Greek Cypriot police had to be “very careful with the accusations and how the whole case will be treated.” The journalist claimed he knew that agents of Mossad, external Israeli intelligence, were in Cyprus “helping” with the case.
“When Mossad agents learned about the planned terror attack, they informed the Greek Cypriot police,” Makrides said. “We know that the Greek Cypriot police after this information, started to watch the 38-year-old Azeri…[who] was in Cyprus from early September 2021 …[he] was watching people and travelling to the Turkish part of Cyprus. He was in touch with various people.”
The journalist claimed the police made the arrest when they did because the suspect was “about to complete his goals.”
Makrides said the police continue to investigate whether the suspect planned to kill the Israeli billionaire Teddy Sagi, who acquired Greek Cypriot citizenship, and therefore a European Union passport in 2009. Sagi has been listed by Forbes as the fourth richest Israeli, worth $5.6 billion.
“My sources told me the information that if Iran is behind this, wanting to harm Israel, then Iran could easily harm Israeli businessmen in Cyprus, as the consequences are high, especially if it's a billionaire like Teddy Sagi,” Makrides said. “Let's not forget that the Azeri is still a suspect, and the decision [to prosecute] is not being taken yet. But, yes, the 38-year-old Azeri might have had a target to harm Israeli businessmen in Nicosia.”