Six Suspects Charged in Cyprus in Alleged Terror Plot to Kill Israelis
by Sharon Wrobel
Cypriot authorities have filed charges against six suspects for the alleged plotting of a terror attack against Israeli targets living on the island, including one man who had Hezbollah-related images found on his phone.
According to the charges filed with the district court of the Cypriot capital Nicosia, five of the six arrested suspects are alleged to have conspired to kill five Israelis who permanently reside in Cyprus, the local Politis daily reported Saturday.
One of the main suspects, Azerbaijani national Orkhan Asadov, who was arrested around the end of September in Nicosia, is said to be accused of most of the charges in the indictment. The 38-year-old is alleged to have played a leading role in the planning of terror acts in Cyprus, together with a 27-year-old man from Pakistan, who worked as a food distributor in Paphos, and is said to have recruited the other suspects. The latter is thought to have links to the Shiite militia Liwa Zainebiyoun, which operates in Syria and is recruiting Pakistanis based in Iran.
Among other charges, Asadov is accused of offenses related to money laundering and forgery of passports, including four fake Russian passports and fake driver’s licenses. According to the police investigation, he received a sum of $40,000 between April and September to commit acts of terrorism.
Asadov is understood to have told police investigators shortly after his arrest and before seeking legal representation that he had been offered the money by a man named “Mohammed,” who asked him to go to Cyprus and intimidate Israeli businesspeople who owed him large sums of money.
Police investigators also found images on Asadov’s mobile phone, including a globe with a Kalashnikov rifle, which they claimed are linked to Lebanon’s Hezbollah terror group.
In October, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s office disclosed in October that a “terrorist incident directed by Iran against Israeli businesspeople living in Cyprus” had been thwarted, and a suspected gunman arrested. Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid called the a “warning signal” at the time.
Following the court charges on Friday, the presiding judge ordered the six suspects to remain in custody until the next criminal court hearing, scheduled for December 6.