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Azerbaijan Arrests Hizbullah-Linked Terror Cell

A month after foiling a terror attack against Israelis, Azerbaijan arrests a terrorist cell whose members belonged to Hizbullah.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 2/22/2012, 3:16 AM

Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah
Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah
Reuters

A month after a terror attack against Israelis was foiled in Azerbaijan, local authorities have arrested a terrorist cell whose members belonged to the Hizbullah terror group and held Iranian passports.

According to a report on Tuesday by Israel’s Channel 2 News, Azerbaijan police arrested the members of the terror cell on suspicion of planning to carry out a terrorist attack in the country. The report quoted a source in the local Defense Ministry as saying that the terrorists belong to the Iranian intelligence service and to Hizbullah, and that their target was foreign citizens residing in the country. However, it was unclear from the comments whether the terrorists specifically targeted Israeli civilians.

The report noted that security services in Azerbaijan believe there is a connection between the terrorists who were nabbed in the country and the terror attack at the Israeli Embassy in New Delhi last week. According to local police, the captured terrorists had been gathering intelligence and acquiring weapons.

In January, Azerbaijan officials said they uncovered an Iranian-linked Muslim gang that plotted to assassinate Chabad rabbis who teach at the Chabad Jewish school in Baku.

Azerbaijan’s National Security Ministry named one of the gang members as Balagardash Dadashov, an Azerbaijan citizen who lives in the Iranian city of Ardabil. He and two others, Rasim Farail Aliyev and Ali Alihamza Huseynov, were charged with smuggling weapons and explosives into the country.

The National Security Ministry said that Dadashov had contacts with Iranian intelligence agencies and promised Aliyev, his brother-in-law in Ardabil, $150,000 to kill foreigners in Baku “in order to put an end to their public service.”

It was later reported that the terrorists who were arrested were planning an attack against the Israeli Ambassador to Azerbaijan, Michael Lotem.