Two more suspects reportedly arrested in Cyprus plot against Israelis

Police said to be investigating if Pakistani natives were working to surveil sites as potential targets for a terrorist attack

Illustrative: A female police officer adjust her mask as she guards at Cyprus' main airport in Larnaca, on June 9, 2020. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
Illustrative: A female police officer adjust her mask as she guards at Cyprus' main airport in Larnaca, on June 9, 2020. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

Two Pakistani citizens were arrested in Cyprus on suspicion of planning to attack Israeli targets, Cypriot media reported over the weekend.

According to a report in the Politis news site, a 25-year-old and a 32-year-old — both Pakistani natives living in Cyprus — were arrested on Friday in Limassol on suspicion of involvement in a recent plot to target Israelis in the island nation.

The pair were brought to court on Saturday for a remand hearing, and were ordered to remain in custody for at least eight days, the report said.

The report said that clothes with the logos of a food distribution company were found in the two men’s apartments, and police were working to determine whether they actually worked for the company or if they had used the uniforms to conduct covert surveillance.

Police reportedly believe that the two arrested men were working in consultation with the Azerbaijani national who was arrested in late September for planning to attack Israelis. Officials said that the two men had photos of potential targets on their phones, and were allegedly involved in surveillance of certain sites.

In early October, news broke of an arrest in Cyprus of the Azerbaijani man on suspicion of planning an attack against Israelis. While the Israeli government said the attack was linked to “Iranian terror,” Cypriot officials have rejected the idea of Tehran’s involvement.

A man stands on a dock and looks to the sunset at the sea in southern port city of Limassol, Cyprus, April 5, 2018. (AP/Petros Karadjias)

A second suspect, also a Pakistani native, was arrested earlier this month.

According to the Politis report, the remand of the first suspect was extended again on Friday for an additional eight days. Investigators reportedly told the court that the suspect had hidden a Glock pistol, a mobile phone, a magazine, two full cartridges, and a USB flash drive in the hotel room he was occupying.

The alleged hired killer of Azerbaijani origin, who arrived in Cyprus on a flight from Russia using a Russian passport, had originally not been cooperating with police investigators. But he later showed them two places in Ayia Napa where he had rented cars, a report on the Philenews site said.

Landing in Larnaca on the Cypriot southern side of the island, the suspect was said to have made his way to the city of Paralimni, near the northern, Turkish-controlled part of the island, 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.

In Larnaca, the assassin reportedly staked out an office complex known to be the workplace of multiple Israelis. A report on Israel’s Channel 12 news said he was caught on security cameras snooping around the neighborhood, evidence that was eventually used to apprehend him.

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

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