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Azerbaijan busts terror ring planning attacks on Israeli and US embassies

22-strong local group said to have trained in Iran

Aaron Kalman is a former writer and breaking news editor for the Times of Israel

Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan (photo credit: CC BY-teuchterlad/Flickr)
Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan (photo credit: CC BY-teuchterlad/Flickr)

Twenty-two people have been arrested in Azerbaijan on suspicion of planning terror attacks on the Israeli and American embassies and on top diplomats from these and other countries, local media in the country reported on Wednesday.

The Azeri Ministry of National Security said the group was believed to be linked to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution, IRGC), local TV station AZTV reported. Members were said to have been recruited locally and to have been trained in Iran. It was not clear when they were arrested.

Members of the group were planning to attack the Israeli and US embassies in Baku, the capital city, and had been stocking up on weapons and explosives, the report said. They also planned to target top diplomats from the US, Israel and other countries.

Azerbaijan has been caught up in tensions between Israel and Iran. Earlier this week Azeri officials assured Iran that Israel would not attack its nuclear facilities through Azeri airspace. Last week, the Azeri ambassador to Iran was summoned to the Foreign Ministry in Tehran, where a top Iranian official protested the recent Azeri deal to buy $1.4 billion of arms from Israel. The envoy was told not to let Israel use Azerbaijan as a staging post for attacks on Iran.

This is the second terror ring allegedly linked to Tehran to be busted in Azerbaijan in recent weeks, after two Iranians with sniper rifles were detained a few weeks ago for plotting an attack against Israeli and Jewish targets.

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