El Al airplanes sit on the runway 370 (R).
(photo credit: Ronen Zvulun / Reuters)
NICOSIA - A Lebanese-Swedish man denied charges on Friday of plotting to attack Israeli tourists in Cyprus, in a case which authorities said bore similarities to a deadly attack in Bulgaria this year.
The 24-year-old defendant faces eight counts of conspiracy and consent to commit a crime and participation in a criminal organization. A Cyprus court ordered two hearings into the case on Oct. 25 and 26.
Israel has described the man as a Hezbollah operative whose modus operandi was similar to that of a suicide bomber who killed five Israelis in the Bulgarian resort of Burgas in July. Cypriot officials have also said his actions bore some similarities to what happened in Burgas.
The suspect is a Swedish national of Lebanese descent who was arrested in the Cypriot port town of Limassol in July, two weeks before the Burgas bombing. Police say he was monitoring the movements of Israeli tourists in the town. No attack took place.
The suspect was arrested at a hotel two days after his arrival from London. Lists of locations frequented by Israeli tourists were found on him, according to media reports which have not been disputed by authorities.
A senior Cypriot government source said he was picked up after a tip-off from British intelligence.