Peres salutes Azerbaijan for foiling terror attack

President thanks Azerbaijani counterpart for "saving lives"; two Azerbaijani suspects arrested.

January 25, 2012 21:19
2 minute read.
Peres, Azerbaijani president Aliyev

Peres, Azerbaijani president Aliyev_390. (photo credit: President's Office)

President Shimon Peres thanked his Azerbaijani counterpart on Wednesday for the country’s success in foiling a terrorist attack aimed at Israeli and Jewish targets in Baku.

Peres, attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, told Ilham Aliyev that Israel saluted his country for “saving lives on your land from a murderous terrorist attack.”

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Azerbaijan’s National Security Ministry revealed last week that it uncovered a cell planning terrorist attacks. Two Azerbaijanis and an Iranian citizen living in Iran were implicated in the plot. The two Azerbaijanis were arrested.

Aliyev, according to Peres’s office, said the plot showed “to what degree we are in a difficult and dangerous neighborhood.

Azerbaijan showed that it is able to defend itself and its citizens regardless of their ethnicity or religion.”

Aliyev said Azerbaijan would continue to cooperate with Israel, especially on homeland security issues.

Conflicting reports have emerged about the terror plot.

While local media said an Iranian-backed terror cell had planned to kill Jewish teachers at the Or Avner Jewish school just outside the capital Baku, other reports in the media claimed the men were offered $150,000 by Iran to assassinate Israel’s Ambassador Michael Lotem.

A spokesman for the Or Avner network of Jewish schools, however, denied on Tuesday night any knowledge of a planned attack.

“The Jews of Baku and the administrators of the school have no information on what was reported in Azeri media last Thursday,” said the spokesman. “The community’s routine has not changed.” The Israeli foreign ministry did not comment on the incident.

Azerbaijan is an oil-rich country neighboring Iran with a Shi’ite majority that has had good diplomatic ties with Israel since 1992. In 2008, a terror cell was arrested there.

Security forces said they planned to bomb the Israeli embassy in the country to avenge the death of Imad Muganiyah, Hezbollah’s shadowy senior member. Hezbollah says the bomb that killed Muganiyah in Damascus was planted by Israel.

The Or Avner school in Baku was completed in 2010 at a cost of $10 million donated by Israeli businessman Lev Leviev and other philanthropists. It has about 400 students and also includes a Jewish community center and a sports facility that caters to the country’s estimated 12,000 Jews.

At the beginning of the year Azerbaijan joined the 15-member UN Security Council as one of its temporary members, a position with heightened significance for Israel since the Palestinians are threatening to take their bid for statehood recognition at the UN back to that body.

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