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Two Iranians arrested in Cyprus for targeting Israelis

The two men arrived on the island as asylum seekers.

The beach in Paphos, Cyprus, May 28, 2018. Photo by Mendy Hechtman/Flash90.
The beach in Paphos, Cyprus, May 28, 2018. Photo by Mendy Hechtman/Flash90.

Israel’s Prime Minister’s Office on Sunday confirmed a Cypriot newspaper’s report of an Iranian plot to target Israeli citizens on the island nation.

Cypriot security authorities, in partnership with the Mossad, thwarted the Iranian scheme.

Thanks to their counter-terrorist activity, information was gathered leading to the exposure of the threat, its method of operation and targets, and other Iranian plans to kill innocent people in Cyprus and other arenas.

Israel’s National Security Council said that since the outbreak of the war against Hamas on Oct. 7, many Israelis have temporarily moved to Cyprus, making the Iranian presence in northern Cyprus for terrorist purposes particularly troubling.

According to Cyprus’s Kathimerini newspaper on Sunday, two Iranians, who arrived on the island as asylum seekers, gathered information about Israeli targets and citizens. They were in contact with a representative of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization.

This would not be the first time that Iranian agents have infiltrated Cyprus, which is a popular vacation spot for Israelis and also serves as a business base for Israeli entrepreneurs.

In June, the Mossad intelligence agency exposed a secret Iranian operation to target Israelis in Cyprus.

The head of the Iranian hit squad, Yusef Shahabazi Abbasalilu, was captured by Mossad agents in Iran. He admitted in the investigation that he was sent to Cyprus to harm Israeli businessmen.

The Mossad passed the information along to Cypriot authorities, whose intelligence services prevented the attack.

Similarly, in 2021, an Azeri national working for Iran was arrested in a plot to target Israeli business tycoon Teddy Sagi. The founder of gambling software company Playtech and owner of London’s Camden Market splits his time between the U.K., Cyprus and Israel.

At the time of the suspect’s arrest, he had a handgun with a silencer and was said to be casing the office building where Sagi’s operations are headquartered on the island.

In October, four Syrians were arrested in Cyprus after an explosive device was thrown 30 meters away from Israel’s embassy in Nicosia.

The “homemade bomb” exploded around 1:30 a.m.

Following the blast, two people walking near the Israeli mission were detained, as were two others in a car.

Police found two knives and a hammer inside the vehicle.

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