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2nd suspect arrested over alleged Cyprus plot targeting Israelis – report

Man said to be food delivery worker of Pakistani origin detained after examination of suspected assassin’s phone, in incident Israel blames on Iran

Illustrative -- A motorcyclist police officer escorts and guards a police van, Nicosia, Cyprus, June 24, 2019 (Petros Karadjias/AP)
Illustrative -- A motorcyclist police officer escorts and guards a police van, Nicosia, Cyprus, June 24, 2019 (Petros Karadjias/AP)

A second suspect has reportedly been arrested in Cyprus in connection with an alleged plot to assassinate one or more Israeli businesspeople in Cyprus last month.

According to a local Cypriot website, a 27-year-old food delivery worker originally from Pakistan was arrested on Tuesday evening after a police raid on his home. Authorities reportedly seized a number of items from his residence.

Cypriot authorities were previously said to be probing an Azeri national on terror suspicions as part of the alleged plot. That suspect was ordered held in custody another six days during a hearing last week, according to Cypriot reports.

The raid on the second man’s home was said to have been as a result of an examination of the Azeri suspect’s phone records.

Police said the arrests were being handled as a possible terrorism case but lawyers for the first suspect, who has not been named, have denied any terror links.

The Azeri man was arrested last week on reported suspicion of planning to attack one or more Israeli businesspeople in Cyprus. Israeli authorities have insisted that the man was part of an Iran-backed terror plot aimed against Israelis on the island.

During the hearing in Cyprus last week, officials unsealed documents listing 11 charges the man is being investigated on, including terror activity, attempted murder, belonging to a criminal organization, conspiracy to commit a crime, and being in the country illegally, Israel’s Channel 12 news reported.

According to a local Cypriot report, a gun with a silencer was found by police in the Azeri suspect’s vehicle.

The lawyer for the first suspect denied any Iranian connection to the reported assassination attempt, Channel 12 reported, and Cypriot authorities also do not believe Iran is behind the plot, according to local media.

Reports have indicated that the plot was directed at Israeli businessman Teddy Sagi, though Israeli authorities have denied he was specifically targeted.

Teddy Sagi. (courtesy)

The Philenews website reported that Cypriot authorities think the alleged would-be hitman’s target in the plot was not Sagi, but other members of his company.

Sagi is the founder of the gambling software company Playtech, which has offices in Nicosia.

Sagi had told Channel 12 earlier this month that he was never tipped off or warned and decided to leave Cyprus for unrelated reasons. “The headlines sounded very scary, but it had nothing to do with me,” he said. “I didn’t receive any notification to leave.”

Some sources had previously claimed that the foiled attack was an assassination attempt against Sagi linked to his business dealings.

But the Israeli government blamed “Iranian terror” for the planned attack, and said Sagi was targeted only because he was an Israeli businessman.

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