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Azerbaijan Arrests 22 in Plot to Attack US, Israeli Embassies

Azerbaijan said it arrested 22 citizens suspected of plotting on behalf of Iran to attack the American and Israel embassies in Baku.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 3/14/2012, 3:13 PM

Azeri policeman at demonstration
Azeri policeman at demonstration
Reuters

Azerbaijan on Wednesday said it arrested 22 citizens suspected of plotting on behalf of Iran to attack the American and Israel embassies in Baku.

Officials said that the men were working with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

The arrests come nearly a month after the arrest of a terrorist cell whose members belonged to Hizbullah and who held Iranian passports. Police said the 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.

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

Azerbaijan, a Muslim country, has good relations with Israel and often has been mentioned as being a convenient site from which Israel could launch an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Azerbaijan reportedly had signed a $1.6 billion contract with Israel for drones and anti-aircraft and missile systems, a deal that might have included guarantees for Israel to use its air space or even land bases for an attack.

Iran has said it will “not allow its enemies” to use Azerbaijan as a launching pad for an attack on the Islamic Republic.

Azeri Defense Minister Safar Abiyev told the government-controlled Fars News Agency that he met with Iran’s foreign minister in Tehran Tuesday to discuss expanding relations with Azerbaijan “based on mutual interests.”