Azerbaijan Rounds Up ‘Iran-Linked’ Attack Plotters

Investigators at Tughlaq Road police station make arrangements to tow the vehicle that exploded near the Israeli embassy in New Delhi on February 14 (AFP Photo)

BAKU (Agence France-Presse)—Police in Azerbaijan have arrested an unspecified number of people allegedly linked to Iran and to the Lebanese group Hezbollah suspected of planning attacks in the country, state television said Tuesday.

State broadcaster AzTV, quoting the National Security Ministry, said police had detained people linked to Iranian intelligence services and Hezbollah who intended to stage attacks on foreign citizens in the country.

The report said the suspects had gathered intelligence on targets and bought explosives, guns and ammunition, but gave no further details.

The reported arrests come after a car bomb last week critically injured an Israeli diplomat in New Delhi while Georgian officials defused a second device in Tbilisi. A suspected Iranian bomber had his legs blown off as he hurled a grenade at Thai police. Israel blamed Iran for the attacks which came at a time of heightened tensions over Tehran’s nuclear program.

Police in mainly Azerbaijan last month also arrested two men with alleged links to Iranian intelligence on suspicion of plotting to kill prominent Israelis in Azerbaijan.

The allegations infuriated Tehran, which sent a diplomatic note of protest accusing Baku of collaborating with Israel’s spy services and helping assassins who have killed Iranian nuclear scientists.

Baku responded with a letter to Tehran calling the claim “absurd, unsubstantiated and false,” according to Azeri media reports on Tuesday.

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