Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Azerbaijan terrorists were targeting Israeli ambassador (UPDATED)

A followup on yesterday's report on Iranian and Hezbollah terrorists caught in Azerbaijan:
Azerbaijan has arrested two men suspected of plotting to attack prominent foreigners in the former Soviet republic.

It is alleged they were aided by a third individual, an Iranian who had links with Iran’s intelligence.

It is reported he helped smuggle in weapons including sniper rifles, handguns and explosive devices.

Azerbaijan’s National Security Ministry said the men’s targets included Israel’s ambassador.

Although Azerbaijan is a secular Muslim country its home to 9,000 Jews and has friendly ties with Israel and America.

In the past the Azeri authorities say they’ve prevented car bomb attacks near the Israeli, US and British embassies – all allegedly involving agents from neighbouring Iran.
So this was the fourth Iranian attempt to murder Israeli diplomats we know of in the past couple of weeks.

For its part, Iran has ramped up its own rhetoric against Azerbaijan, claiming that it is a haven for Mossad agents.

Meanwhile, new news from attempt #3 in Thailand:

The Iranian terrorists targeting Israeli facilities in Bangkok planned to use $27 portable radios to hide their explosives, ABC News reported Tuesday.

Airing exclusive photos of one of the bombs discovered, the network showed the inside of the radio, packed with tiny ball bearings and six magnets. According to explosive experts, the device's design indicates that the bomb was meant to be attached to the side of a vehicle.

According to the report, a surveillance photo of one of the suspects in the case, an Iranian national named Saeid Moradi, shows him holding a radio in each hand.
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(h/t Yoel, Ian)

UPDATE: The Azerbaijan article and video above was actually from before the other three incidents. In fact, it foreshadowed them. Yesterday's arrest was a different set of terrorists.

From NZ Herald:

Piece by piece, the tools for an alleged Iranian-directed murder team were smuggled into Azerbaijan on the Caspian Sea. A sniper rifle with silencer. Pistols. Sixteen pieces of plastic explosives and detonators.

Finally came a dossier with photos, names and exacting details down to workplace drawings for Israeli targets in the capital of Azerbaijan.

Each step, according to authorities in Baku, was overseen by Iran's intelligence services for what could have been a stunning attack weeks before the suspected shadow war between Jerusalem and Tehran flared in Azerbaijan's neighbour Georgia and the megacities New Delhi and Bangkok.

The shadow war is picking up as concerns are growing over Iran's alleged weapons experiments.

The allegedly unravelled Baku plot in January, recounted through interviews and police records, has been largely overshadowed by this month's arrests and attacks that suggest Iranian payback after the slayings of at least five Iranian scientists in the past two years, all with some links to Tehran's nuclear programme.

But the Baku claims offer a wider portrait of Iran's alleged clandestine operations, and how they appear tailored to different locales.

In Bangkok, the three Iranian suspects in custody took advantage of Thailand's foreigner-friendly culture to party with bar girls while allegedly organising a bomb cache whose targets, police say, included the Israeli Embassy. In New Delhi, the wife of an Israeli diplomat and three others were wounded by attackers using magnetic bombs - the same tactic used to kill a senior nuclear official in Tehran last month in an attack that Iran claims was masterminded by Israel. The same day as the New Delhi blast, a similar "sticky bomb" was found on the car of a driver for the Israeli Embassy in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi.

(h/t/ CHA)