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Israel accused Iran of plotting to kill Israelis in Cyprus, after arresting a person, suspected of being hired to carry out killings there.
The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office said: “It is a terrorist operation planned by Iran to target Israeli businessmen” in Cyprus.
The office denied media reports that the operation targeted the Israeli billionaire, Teddy Sagi.
There was no comment from Iran regarding this issue.
According to local media, the suspect, a 38-year-old Azerbaijani man with a Russian passport, was arrested last week in the capital, Nicosia, after crossing the border from the northern Turkish part of the island.
It is reported that he arrived from Russia three weeks ago and was under police surveillance. Cypriot media said he was carrying a pistol with a silencer in his car, but the police have not confirmed these details.
There were conflicting reports about who was targeting them. According to Israeli and Cypriot media, billionaire Sagi is one of the targets on his list.
But the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office denied that Sagi was a target of the suspect, and the Sagi Group of Companies also denied that the billionaire was a target.
The group said in a statement: “This is a thwarted Iranian terrorist operation, in which the target was not Teddy Sagi, but the Israelis in Cyprus. Unfortunately, it is easy to spread false news and harm a person’s name.”
Other Israeli media have reported that the plan may be related to business disputes, in which Sagi may be a party, through his online gambling and real estate companies.
Israel was accused by Iran and its ally Hezbollah of targeting or planning to target Israelis abroad.
In 2012, Cyprus convicted a Hezbollah member of plotting to target Israelis there. In the same year, Bulgaria and Israel accused Hezbollah of carrying out a suicide attack there, killing 5 Israelis and one Bulgarian.