Iranians arrested in Buenos Aires with poorly forged Israeli passports

Iranians arrested in Buenos Aires with poorly forged Israeli passports

Authorities in Argentina said to raise alert level after catching pair traveling on documents riddled with Hebrew mistakes, note proximity to embassy bombing anniversary

Police stand outside the airport in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018. (AP/Natacha Pisarenko)
Police stand outside the airport in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018. (AP/Natacha Pisarenko)

Authorities in Buenos Aires have arrested two Iranians suspected of traveling on fake Israeli passports, according to local Argentinean media.

Police are treating the two, a man and woman, as possible terror suspects, and have raised the alertness level, daily Clarin reported.

The couple, named as Sajjad Naserani, 27, and Mahsoreh Sabzali, 30, were arrested last week after they entered Argentina on the apparently fake passports.

The passports listed their names as Netanel and Rivka Toledano. The passport ID numbers actually belonged to a French-Israeli couple named as David and Brigitte Assouline, according to Argentinean media.

Authorities initially suspected the passports had been stolen and doctored, but later concluded they were fake after finding several spelling mistakes in Hebrew. One picture of the passports carried in Argentinian media shows the word “Israel” misspelled, among many other flubs.

The couple had flown from Spain to Buenos Aires last week and were allowed into the country before being arrested at a hotel days later. The investigation involved branches of Interpol in Argentina, Spain and Israel, according to Clarin.

Naserani, who claimed to be a photographer, was arrested with a camera. The two said that they had made their way to Spain via Turkey and Greece, La Nacion reported.

Firemen and rescue workers walk through the debris of Israel’s Embassy after a terrorist attack in Buenos Aires, Argentina, March 17, 1992. (AP Photo/Don Rypka)

Officials said they had raised the alert level because of the proximity to the anniversary of the March 17, 1992 bombing of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires, Clarin reported.

“This of course raises the level of alertness, and so I understand it is essential to maximize all security and prevention measures,” prosecuting judge Luis Rodriguez said, according to the news site.

Iran and its Hezbollah proxy have been widely blamed for both the embassy bombing, which killed 29 people, and an attack on the AMIA Jewish center two years later that left 85 dead.

There was no immediate comment from Iranian officials.

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