Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu charged Iran Saturday with responsibility for a thwarted terror plot on Israeli targets on Cyprus.
Cyprus authorities on Friday announced they had detained a Lebanese man carrying a Saudi Arabian passport on suspicion of being involved in planning a terrorist attack on Israelis on the island. He entered the country under the guise of a tourist. Foreign reports said the Mossad had helped the Cypriot authorities in thwarting the plot.
Netanyahu described the suspect as a “Hezbollah militant” and said Iran bore responsibility for the plot. “There are no borders to Iranian terrorism. After Iran sent its people to assassinate – on US soil – the Saudi Arabian ambassador and to perpetrate terrorist attacks in Azerbaijan, Bangkok, Tbilisi, New Delhi and Africa, its intention to perpetrate attacks in Cyprus has now been exposed,” he said in a statement. “The international community needs to fight the greatest exporter of terrorism in the world.”
The man is suspected of trying to blow up a plane or a bus carrying Israelis. He had allegedly obtained details about an Israeli plane and had taken pictures of Israeli targets in the southern coastal town of Limassol, Israel Radio reported.
Other Israeli reports said he had been monitoring Israelis’ movements, and had maps and notes relating to Israeli targets.
State radio CyBC quoted an unidentified senior police official as saying that “Israeli interests” were to be targeted. CyBC said the suspect was arrested a week ago. Spokesman Andreas Angelides confirmed that the police have “an individual in custody on possible charges pertaining to terrorism laws.”
Foreign governments passed intelligence onto Cyprus to help thwart a possible attack.
Angelides declined to identify the suspect, the level of his involvement in the plot and what the intended target would have been, saying disclosure of any details about the case could compromise an ongoing investigation.
An official at the Israeli Embassy in Nicosia refused to comment on the matter.