Police vehicle in Lima, Peru (illustrative)
Police vehicle in Lima, Peru (illustrative)iStock

A judge in Peru has ordered 18 months of preventative detention for an Iranian and two Peruvian men while they are investigated for allegedly attempting to kill two Israelis living in the country.

According to the Associated Press, the ruling by Magistrate Miguel Quevedo was handed down Tuesday but released Wednesday.

Prosecutors in Peru have said the Iranian suspect, Majid Azizi, may be a member of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard. With this, the judge said the motive for the murder plot was unclear.

According to the prosecutors, images, messages, and testimonies were found indicating that Azizi contacted Peruvians Walter Loja and Ángelo Trucios in March to plan the killing of Israeli Shachar Malka, who works in Cusco as a tour guide and healer with traditional plants.

The other Israeli citizen whom they allegedly planned to kill was Gilad Duchovny, who opened a cafe in Cusco in 2006 with his twin brother.

According to the judge, “it has been established with a high degree of plausibility” that Azizi conspired with the Peruvians to kill the Israelis. Police found information about Malka and Duchovny in Azizi’s Lima house. One of the Peruvians arrested, Trucios, has a conviction for murder and aggravated robbery.

Azizi’s defense has denied all the charges against him and says he suffers from a serious heart condition.

Peruvian authorities say Azizi entered Lima on March 3, and they were alerted about him by foreign intelligence offices.

Following Azizi's arrest in March, the Israeli embassy in Lima thanked the Peruvian police and prosecutor’s office in a press release “for having dismantled an Iranian attack that was directed against an Israeli citizen.”