A Cypriot police probe supports claims by Israel’s Mossad of an Iranian plot to target Israelis in the eastern Mediterranean island nation.
Local authorities received information from “friendly intelligence services” that pointed them to Iranian national Yusef Shahabazi Abbasalilu, a Cypriot security official told the Associated Press in an apparent reference to the Israeli intelligence agency.
The Cyprus police investigation indicated that there was a plot to kill Israelis and other Jews, with at least one specific person on the hit list.
According to the investigation, Abbasalilu set up operations in the breakaway Turkish northeastern region of the island, where he attempted to recruit others to carry out the plot. Only Ankara recognizes Turkish Cyprus, with the United Nations seeing it as an occupied region of the Republic of Cyprus, which is culturally and linguistically Greek.
Cypriot authorities were on Abbasalilu’s trail on the Greek side of the island when he crossed over to the Turkish side, where Turkish Cypriot authorities identified him and deported him to Iran as a potential security risk.
Under interrogation, Abbasalilu admitted on video that he had been sent to Cyprus to harm Israeli businessmen.
“In a unique, daring mission within Iranian territory, the Mossad was able to seize the mastermind of the terror cell, who then admitted [to the terror plot] in detail during his interrogation, which led to exposing and the taking apart of the Cyprus terror cell,” the Mossad stated.
The Mossad passed the information along to Cypriot authorities, which thwarted the attack.
Abbasasulilu revealed that a member of the intelligence unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps had sent him to Cyprus for the operation and that the IRGC had provided him with the target details. In Cyprus, he was connected to a Pakistani group that had committed assassinations in the past.
“We will get any party that promotes terrorism against Jews and Israelis all over the world, including on the soil of Iran,” said a senior Mossad official.