Security services in Azerbaijan say they thwarted a series of ambitious terrorist attacks that were supposed to take place during last week’s Eurovision Song Contest in the capital city of Baku.
Members of Izabo, the group that represented Israel in the competition, noticed an incremental increase in security as the detail protecting them grew from three to 11 guards, Ynet reported. The band was not informed of any unusual activity and assumed that Iran, not Azerbaijan, would be behind security threats, the report said.
The Azeri National Security Ministry said in a statement Wednesday that targets included the event venue and major hotels housing foreign tourists. The statement says other plots included plans for an assassination attempt on President Ilham Aliyev in April.
Officials say 40 people have been arrested and dozens of guns and automatic assault rifles have been seized.
The former Soviet nation has in recent months reported being the target of terrorist activities planned by various groups with ties to al-Qaeda and Iran.