Cyprus thwarts Iranian attack targeting Jews and Israelis — reports

Planned terror attack said foiled by intelligence services cooperating with Israeli, US counterparts; reportedly connected to Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps

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

A terror attack targeting Jews and Israelis was thwarted in Cyprus, it was reported by Cypriot media on Sunday.

According to the reports, the planned attack was believed linked to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which is a branch of the Iranian army and is considered a terror organization by several countries, including the United States.

Israel’s National Security Council warned earlier this year that Cyprus and Greece are countries where Iran is likely to target Jews and Israelis. The countries are popular destinations for Israeli tourists, in addition to having relatively sizable expat communities.

The Phile News website said the plot was thwarted by Cypriot intelligence services, in cooperation with other foreign agencies, said to be from Israel and the US.

The report said that the attackers were using the northern part of the island as a staging post for the potential attack and that Cypriot intelligence services had closely followed the cell for a number of months.

An unnamed official told the outlet that the foiling of the plot showed that Cyprus would not allow its own territorial conflict to create a “security hole” through which attacks can be carried out.

There was no immediate confirmation from Israeli officials.

In this September 22, 2014, photo, members of the Iran’s Revolutionary Guard march during an annual military parade at the mausoleum of ayatollah Khomeini, outside Tehran, Iran (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi, File)

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when the Turkish army invaded the northern third of the island in response to a coup that had sought to unite the entire island with Greece. The rule of the north’s leader is recognized only by Turkey.

In October 2021, Israel said that an Iranian plot against Israeli businesspeople in Cyprus had been foiled. According to reports, the hired killer was of Azerbaijani origin and had arrived in Cyprus on a flight from Russia using a Russian passport.

Landing in Larnaca on the Cypriot southern side of the island, he was said to have made his way to the Turkish-controlled city of Paralimni in the north where he rented a room and two vehicles. He reportedly crossed the Turkish-Cypriot border back and forth a number of times on a bike.

Iranian plots against Israelis have also been foiled in several other countries over the past year.

In November, Georgian security officials foiled an attempt by a Pakistani citizen to murder an Israeli in Georgia on orders from an Iranian operative.

In July, Turkish forces stymied an attempt by Iranian agents to kill Israelis in Istanbul, arresting three men. The news came a month after the Mossad spy agency and its local counterparts managed to thwart three Iranian attacks targeting Israeli civilians in Istanbul. Iran denied the allegations.

Also in June, security forces in Thailand were reportedly successful in preventing an Iranian agent from establishing a terror cell in the country and potentially carrying out attacks against Israelis.

Iran and Israel have been engaged in a decades-long shadow war across the Middle East and beyond.

Agencies contributed to this report.

Most Popular
read more: