(photo credit: Ben Hartman)
The wave of Iranian efforts to attack Israeli interests abroad appears to be
continuing, following an announcement by Azerbaijan on Tuesday that it had
foiled another plot linked to Tehran and Hezbollah in Baku.
conspiracy involved a cell linked to the Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force and
the Lebanese terrorist organization, the Azerbaijani Ministry of National
Security said, according to state television.
Authorities detained the
cell’s members and seized firearms and explosives, according to the Azerbaijani
While some news agencies cited the TV report as saying that
the targets were “foreign,” a Baku-based reporter for Bloomberg quoted AzTV as
saying that the terrorists planned to attack the Israeli Embassy and a Jewish
Channel 10 cited Azerbaijani media as saying that two
Iranian Quds Force members were arrested. In addition, around 20 people, mostly
from the same family, were arrested in connection with the planned attacks, in a
village on the outskirts of Baku, according to the report.
received narcotics from Hezbollah to sell in order to fund the attacks, Channel
The Quds Force is headed by Gen. Qassem Suleimani, who
reports directly to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei.
tasked with operating outside of Iranian territory, assisting and arming proxies
such as Hezbollah and orchestrating terrorist attacks. The Quds Force has been
linked to the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires,
in which 85 people were killed and more than 300 were wounded.
Force spent years training Hezbollah’s fighters and building up its arsenal of
rockets in south Lebanon, as well coordinating activities with Hamas and Islamic
Jihad in the Gaza Strip.
Secular Azerbaijan’s ties to Israel and the US
have stoked tensions with neighboring Iran, which protested alleged Israeli
intelligence activity in the oil-rich former Soviet republic, the state-run
Iranian Students News Agency reported recently.
Azerbaijan said last
month it thwarted a terrorist plot against the Israeli ambassador in Baku by a
group linked to Iran. Two men were suspected of plotting to attack the
ambassador and a rabbi.
Azeri authorities said the two suspects had been
helped by an Iranian linked to Iran’s intelligence services, who supplied them
with guns and explosives.
On February 12, Iran’s Foreign Ministry accused
Azerbaijan of aiding Israeli intelligence in the assassination of an Iranian
nuclear scientist blown up last month, according to the Fars news
Terrorists in India and Georgia, which neighbors Azerbaijan,
targeted Israeli diplomats last week, planning bombings of the embassies in New
Delhi and Tbilisi.
While Georgian sappers defused the bomb in Tbilisi, an
Israeli diplomat’s wife and her Indian driver were wounded when a bomb attached
to their vehicle exploded.
Israel blamed Iran for the
attack.Bloomberg and Reuters contributed to this report.