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Iranian Denies Plotting Attack on Israelis in Azerbaijan

An Iranian man who was arrested on suspicion of planning an attack on the Israeli embassy in Azerbaijan denies the allegation.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 11/22/2013, 5:42 AM

Terrorist (illustration)
Terrorist (illustration)
Israel news photo: Flash 90

An Iranian man who was arrested on suspicion of planning an attack on the Israeli embassy in Azerbaijan denies the allegation, an Iranian diplomat said on Thursday, according to Reuters.

Hassan Faraji, 31, is the latest in a number of Iranians to be accused of criminal plots in recent years in Azerbaijan.

Faraji was detained near the Israeli embassy in the capital Baku on October 31 but his arrest was made public only on Wednesday, when state TV showed footage of police raiding an apartment.

Israel’s Channel 10 News, which reported about the arrest, said that Faraji was found to be a member of the elite Quds unit of the Revolutionary Guards, which is responsible for carrying out attacks against Israeli targets abroad.

Local police raided his home, where they found plans and photographs indicating the intention to carry out a series of attacks against Israelis and Israeli diplomats at the embassy, according to Channel 10.

"Faraji had a detailed plan of an attack on personnel of the Israeli embassy...He put up a resistance to the police during a detention," Azeri police said in a statement quoted by Reuters.

A court in Azerbaijan has reportedly sentenced Faraji to one month pre-trial detention, said the news agency.

An Iranian official has denied that Faraji had connections with Iran's Revolutionary Guards.

"This information does not correspond to the reality," the Iranian embassy spokesman, who did not want to be named, told Reuters.

"He denies all charges and believes that his innocence will be proved during an investigation," said the spokesman.

The case is a part of wider diplomatic tensions between the neighbors. Iran has accused Azerbaijan of assisting Israel in the killing of Iranian nuclear scientists.

Azerbaijan, for its part, has arrested dozens of people last year on suspicion of connections with Iran's Revolutionary Guards, and of plotting attacks.

In October, a court in Azerbaijan sentenced Iranian citizen Bahram Feyzi to 15 years in jail for plotting an attack on the Israeli embassy in the country. Feyzi was arrested by Azerbaijani security forces in March.

In February of 2012, authorities in Azerbaijan arrested a terrorist cell whose members belonged to the Hezbollah terror group and held Iranian passports.

The members of the terror cell were arrested on suspicion of planning to carry out a terrorist attack in Azerbaijan, but no details were provided on whether the terrorists specifically targeted Israeli civilians.

In January of that year, 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.

Azerbaijani officials have also linked Iran to an alleged plot to stage a wave of attacks during the Eurovision song contest held in Azerbaijan in May 2012.