Israel has warned its missions around the world of a possible Iranian terror threat, a television report claimed on Wednesday, following the arrest of an Azeri national over an alleged plot to assassinate one or more Israeli businesspeople in Cyprus.
According to Channel 12 news, Israeli diplomats across the globe have been told to remain on high alert.
The network also said three suspects in the foiled attack attempt in Cyprus, revealed earlier this week, are suspected of fleeing the island nation. The channel did not cite a source for the information.
Iran has been behind repeated threats against Israelis and Israeli missions around the world over the years. In March of this year, the National Security Council warned Israelis they could be targeted by the Islamic Republic abroad. It said Iran was behind a bombing attack near the Israeli embassy in India in January, which did not cause casualties.
The Israeli government has blamed “Iranian terror” for last week’s reported plan to kill billionaire Teddy Sagi in Cyprus. However, local media reported Wednesday that Cypriot authorities do not believe Iran is behind the plot. Authorities are also said to be convinced the would-be hitman’s target in the plot was not Sagi, but other members of his company, the Philenews site reported.
Sagi is the founder of the gambling software company Playtech, which has offices in Nicosia.
Some sources had claimed that the foiled attack was an assassination attempt against Sagi linked to his business dealings. But the Israeli government on Monday blamed Iran, and said Sagi was targeted only because he was an Israeli businessman.
An Azeri suspect was arrested last week on reported suspicions of planning to attack one or more Israeli businesspeople. Cypriot authorities unsealed 11 possible charges the suspect is being investigated for, including terror activity, attempted murder, belonging to a criminal organization, conspiracy to commit a crime, and being in the country illegally, Channel 12 reported Wednesday. He was ordered held in custody another six days during a hearing.
A lawyer for the suspect, whose name has not been released, told the Israeli network that his client denies any terror links and has nothing to hide.
The lawyer denied any Iranian connection to the reported assassination attempt, Channel 12 reported.
Sagi told Channel 12 on Monday evening that he was never tipped off or warned of danger and had left 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.”